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The Promise

Has anyone ever promised you something and then didn’t come through? I remember as a little girl, I was with my uncle and we came out of store that had a mechanical horse ride. I asked if I could ride and he said we’d go to a real amusement park later. Only thing is, later never came, and I was really disappointed. Now, he had no idea how much that hurt and he wasn’t intentionally lying, but to me it was a promise from a loved one. I was really disillusioned.

Has God ever promised something and not come through? Personally, I can say, no, not ever. Now, He didn’t always do what I thought was best at the time, nor did He always do it in my time frame. But He has always come through, because faithful is WHO He is. 2 Timothy 2:13 tells us, “if we are faithless, he remains faithful—”

Recently, while doing the Finding God Faithful Bible study by Kelly Minter, I saw something new in Genesis 47. Jacob asks Joseph to promise not to bury him in Egypt but to take him back to “rest with his fathers” (Genesis 47:30). And Jacob swears he will do as his father asked. (I wrote a 2 weeks ago on another lesson I learned from Joseph.)

Now, I remembered that part of the story, but had not considered the real reason why Jacob asked that. Kelly reminds us that Jacob was given the name Israel in Genesis 32 because God told him, you have “striven with God and with men, and have prevailed” (v.28). God promised Jacob would be the father of nations that would come from him, and he was promised the land of Canaan. So how does Jacob end up in Egypt instead? Was God’s promise faulty?

If Joseph hadn’t been in Egypt, the famine would’ve taken Jacob’s family down. Because of how God used Joseph to help Egypt’s population find food, as well as Jacob’s family, they survived this famine.

As Jacob was dying, he knew the covenant promise of God (to be a great nation, a great land, and a great blessing) was going to come to pass. He didn’t want to be buried any other place except the “Promised Land”…certainly not in Goshen where he had settled with his family during the famine. Jacob knew his offspring would make it back to Canaan because he trusted God’s faithful promise.

Kelly wrote, “…Jacob chose to be counted among his fathers in the place God had promised to each of them, an act of faith and quite remarkably an act of obedience. He finally understood God’s calling is deeper than our plans, our dreams, and even our loves.” (He wasn’t buried with his real love, Rachel, but with Leah, who was buried in the “promised land” and who had given birth to Judah, the tribe of Jesus’ lineage.)

At the end of the book of Genesis, as Joseph was dying, he asked the same thing his father did, “…you are to carry my bones up to here” (Genesis 50:25). Kelly’s closing day’s study mentions, “Joseph chose to identify himself with the place of God over and above the place of prosperity…The God of promise is even better than the land of promise.

I just bet Jacob and Joseph both would have sung The Goodness of God if it had been written and sung back then! This is one of my favorites and I do sing it from my heart. Stop and check it out.

Perhaps during the pandemic, you’ve thought, “God, what are you doing here? This doesn’t look like you are being faithful. This isn’t my plan or my dreams here.”

Maybe you have wondered what possible good could come from this. But, good things have happened…God’s name has been lifted high by many. It’s possible that more people watched Easter services this year through the Internet than ever would have attended in person. People are looking for something they can hold on to, and guess what, Jesus is it!

Many have lost jobs, income, health and so much more…but if we can do as Joseph did all those years in Egypt, and honor and trust God anyway, we can bring hope to others. And we can be like Jacob and believe God’s Word no matter what.

Your challenge, and mine, is to get in and stay in the Word. Get to know this faithful God and His son, who’s gift of salvation we celebrated in the recent Easter season.

Author Kelly Minter said: “The promised land was not ultimately about the physical land of Canaan, rather is was pointing to an eternal city whose builder and maker is God.” Jacob and his son Joseph knew they were being kept alive in Egypt, but it was about so much more…making it back to the land their faithful God has promised. It was survival of the nation Israel so that Jesus would one day walk the earth and who’s life would be linked back to Jacob’s and Joseph’s.

Let’s keep our eyes toward heaven and all it has to offer, and on our faithful God, not on the things of the world. That is how we can walk out each day of social distancing for His glory.


Banner photo by alise storsul on Unsplash

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