Legacy of Faith

It is often easy to say that we step out in faith.  It’s easy to say we truly believe to the very core of our being what God is whispering to our souls in the quiet morning.

I fill pages of journals with promises that have settled deep.  Some of those promises coax tears from my eyes and gently unfurl my tightly clenched fists.

And yet… 

Sometimes faith throws you a curve ball.  Sometimes the plans of God never quite play out like you imagine and your find yourself facing a mountain of impossibility and doubt. 

Jacob was closing in on his 130th birthday when God called him to Egypt.  I’m not entirely certain what was running through his mind at the time but I’m sure it wasn’t making a trek from Canaan to Egypt in his more advanced years.

I can also imagine that he heard the echoes of the covenant between God and his grandfather Abraham.  A promise he mostly likely heard at the breast of his mother and then at the knee of his father over and over and over again.

“I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant:  I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you.  And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants.  It will be their possession forever and I will be their God.” – Genesis 17: 7-8 

So why was God asking him to pack up his belonging, heard his flock, gather his family and pile onto the wagons Pharaoh had provided and move away from the promise given to his Grandfather?  

Here is what we know.  We know that Jacob wanted to see Joseph, the son he thought dead, before he himself died.   We know that the land was dead, famine had wasted away crops and dried up river beds and as a result Jacob, his family and his herd were also wasting away.  We know that Egypt, because of Joseph’s gift of interpretation, had prepared for seven years with storehouses of food when the famine hit. 

Despite all of that head knowledge, it must have felt weird to walk away from the land you’ve come to know as home, the land that was covenanted to you by God, and become a foreigner in another.  Jacob was scared. 

God understood that fear.

On the way to Egypt Jacob stops at Beersheba and offers a sacrifice, the same place where God reiterated His covenant to Jacob’s father Isaac.  And in this place, God speaks to Jacob in the same way He spoke to Isaac.

“I am God, the God of your father… do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation.  I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again.  You will die in Egypt, but Joseph with be with you to close your eyes.”  Genesis 46: 3-4 

Jacob would never again see, touch or smell the land that was given to Him through the covenant. He would die a foreigner in a strange land.  And yet, he still chose to follow the path that God laid out before him. 
Sometimes the path changes and when that happens we can stand still and be paralyzed by fear of the unknown.  Or, we can stop and offer a sacrifice and all that beats anxious in our hearts to God because He cares enough to listen to our fears. 
God’s promises are His promises and He can be trusted to keep those promises. 
“Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have, 
for God can be trusted to keep his promise.”  Hebrews 10:23
The revelation of those promises?  

That is full of the beauty and mystery of faith, part of the extreme bravery of stepping out and into His full purpose even if it scares us. 

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