When God seems to disappear…


Genesis 46:When Israel (a.k.a. Jacob) set out on his journey with all that he had and came to Beer-sheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 God spoke to Israel in visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” 3 Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. 4 I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again; and Joseph’s own hand shall close your eyes.” 

With a famine in his homeland of Canaan it was not feasible for Israel to remain there – where he and his entire family would have starved. So they headed to Egypt where there was food available. V.3 indicates this would not be a quick trip, but that Israel and his family would be there many years, growing into “a great nation”. Then v.4 says something interesting:

“I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will bring you up again…”

It was a long journey to Egypt so knowing God would go with them would have been good news. There was also a promise that the relocation to Egypt would not last forever. God would eventually bring them back to Canaan. All good. What fascinates me is what is NOT included here.

As you know Israel’s family did grow very large and numerous. The Hebrews thrived in Egypt numerically. However, they did so as slaves not as free people. In fact they spent hundreds of years as slaves, laboring in the hot son with whips at their backs producing goods for the Egyptian economy under Pharaoh’s rule. I’m sure this is not the life Israel envisioned for his family when departing Canaan. Interestingly, God does not mention this in our passage.

God was with them on the journeys to Egypt and back, but what about the in-between?

Considering the nightmare that became the Hebrews existence in Egypt one might get the impression that God was NOT with them during those trying years. I’m not saying this was the case, I’m just saying it’s a reasonable conclusion given what happened. Or, if God did not outright abandon them, it’s almost certain that God fell silent during those years. There are no recorded prophets of God or other messengers during the time in Egypt, at least not until Moses came along.

Have you ever had a season in your life when it seemed God had abandoned you? Ignored you? Did your pleas for help seem to fall on deaf ears? In fact you might be in the midst of such a season right now. I have had seasons like this and it’s awful. No doubt. So this morning I’m remembering Jesus’ words spoken to his disciples just before he ascended to heaven to be with the Father. He said, “Remember I am with you always to the end of the age”.

Lord Jesus let it be so. Make yourself know to those of us who cry out to you today. I pray this in your holy name. Amen.


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