Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Egypt - the Place of Provision, the Place of Bondage

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Wednesday, January 23, 2013: Genesis 46:1-47:31

So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again;  Genesis 46:3-4 (NKJV)

When we think of Egypt from a biblical point of view, we usually think of it as the place of slavery for Israel.  In the Book of Exodus, Moses goes down to Egypt to set God's people free from their hard bondage.  Egypt, in this sense, is bad.

But that's not how it started.  Egypt in Genesis is totally different from Egypt in Exodus.  In Genesis, Egypt is the place God led Jacob to PROVIDE for him and his family.  Egypt was a blessing.  Egypt was the answer to their prayers.

Isn't it interesting how the place of blessing can sometimes turn into the place of bondage.  How many times have we been so excited about a new opportunity, a new job, a new place of service -- only later to end up complaining because it wasn't so grand after all?  How many marriages begin with great joy and thankfulness ("God gave me the love of my life!") only to descend over the years into a hardness, bitterness, and even hatred?

God clearly led Israel down to Egypt.  Egypt was the PROVISION OF THE LORD.  In fact, they were given the best of the land.  It was incredible how God had made a way in the midst of a famine.  But, Egypt was not home.  The destiny of Israel lay back in Canaan.  Even though they had to re-locate for a while, their real homeplace remained the same.

We need to remember that.  Never mistake the temporary provision of the Lord for your final destiny.  The place of blessing today can become the place of bondage tomorrow.  How does this happen?  It happens because we settle down and stop growing.  Instead of being a pilgrim traveling toward our destiny, we become a laborer trying to make a living.  I am not talking about a physical journey; I am talking about a spiritual one.  We need to keep the attitude of a pilgrim -- a sojourner. In fact, that's how Jacob described himself when Pharoah him his age.  And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years." (Genesis 47:9)

God told Jacob to go down to Egypt.  "Don't be afraid to go down to Egypt" was the word of the Lord.  Step boldly into the provision God has sent your way.  But, do not forget that this is just a portion of the big picture.  God pours you into new opportinities, new assignments, new locations.  That is part of the joy of walking with Jesus.

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