Text: Genesis 45:16-28, Genesis 46:1-34, Psalm 90:10-17
“What? Are you kidding me?!”
I blinked back tears. No discussion. The decision set. We were moving.
In utter disbelief, I learned we were not just relocating to another part of town or even another state. Right before my senior year of high school, after living seventeen years in Boulder, Colorado, my family planned to resettle clear across the ocean—in Hong Kong.
My parents dragged me by the ankles, kicking and screaming. Scratch marks from my nails could be seen in Boulder and Hong Kong, and all 7,542 miles in between. Had I known then what hard-won wisdom and perspective have taught me over the years, I might’ve saved myself a manicure and great deal of heartache.
This side of heaven we sometimes catch glimpses of understanding about our own situations. But more often than not, God asks us to rely on His Word to reassure us of His love and character, as well as the promises He freely gives to those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9).
As we near the end of Genesis, we read about Jacob as he approaches the end of his life. Through Scripture, our vantage point gives us the ability to review his life in its entirety, enabling us to see God at work in Jacob and also in spite of him.
Jacob’s story is one marked by deception. Some instances were instigated by Jacob (Genesis 27:36), and in others, he got as good he gave (Genesis 29:25)—which isn’t saying much. His relational experiences ran the gamut: from strife, grief, and loss, to promises kept and broken. They dot the landscape of Jacob’s life. Perhaps to Jacob, his circumstances seemed haphazard. But we have the benefit of Scripture to offer us perspective on how all the pieces of his life worked together for God’s greater purpose.
“I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you back.”
When God assures Jacob (now renamed Israel) of both His continued presence and plan to go down with him to Egypt and back again, Jacob’s heart responds in worship. As readers, our own hearts quicken with the knowledge of God’s greater plan for Israel. Jacob didn’t know the full extent of what God was promising, but we do! And the most miraculous parts of Israel’s story were yet to come.
Seeing Jacob’s life through the lens of Scripture restores hope to my own. His story encourages me that, no matter my hardships, mistakes, loss, or waywardness—God is redeeming it all for His glory and in the context of a much greater story.
Looking back now, I remember our time in Hong Kong with great fondness. I see how God proved His faithfulness to our family then, which gives me hope for my struggles today.
We are always en route, never really arriving until Glory. We journey, holding on to hope, as we see God’s faithfulness behind us and cling to His promises before us. May we lean into Israel’s story, remembering that He is trustworthy, and learning to pray as Moses did:
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”