“I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again…” Gen 46:4 NIV
“I found it!” Yesterday, Faith ran into my room shaking a cd back and forth, yelling, “I found it!” For weeks she had searched for her Dog Train cd, but it was nowhere to be found. The elation on her face was evident, and she immediately ran back to her room to listen to her coveted music. Can you imagine how Jacob must have felt when his sons returned from Egypt with carts and donkeys full of supplies, telling him his precious son Joseph was alive? He was not only alive, but Joseph sent enough provisions for the entire family to return to Egypt to live with him.
The Bible tells us Jacob was stunned, but upon seeing the carts for their return trip, he declared, “I’m convinced!” We aren’t given any insight to Jacob’s feelings on packing up his family and moving to Egypt until we read God’s response to him. On the way out of Canaan, Jacob stops to offer a sacrifice at Beersheba. That night God spoke to him in a vision and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
“I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again…” Gen 46:2-4 NIV
Only God knew Jacob’s heart. But one can assume from this message that God knew Jacob was somewhat torn. He longed to see his son, Joseph, yet he was concerned about moving to a place where the worship of idols was commonplace.
There are times in our lives when the path God has for us seems a little scary. How can He take me there, we wonder? We may stop and pray (as Jacob did in Beersheba) and still feel led down the path of the unknown. But look closely at God’s words to Jacob. I will go…with you, and I will surely bring you back again.
I’m not telling you to march into a dark alley with your eyes shut. But I encourage you not to be frightened about the path you may be traveling. God alone knows where you should go. Stop and ask Him about these words to Jacob so many years ago. He may just give them to you, as well. Can you hear Him saying, “I am God…Do not be afraid to go…?”
But don’t take my word for it. I’d like to introduce you to one of my dear friends. She and I were friends at church as tiny girls. Who knew where God would take each of us?
Her name is Heather Montgomery Ricks. She is on a journey with God to Africa.
Heather: I’ve always prayed for God to use me however He wanted. Little did I know that when I prayed that prayer and made myself available to God, He would actually use and challenge me in ways I never thought imaginable.
Over the next week or so, I’d like to share her story.
Today, I want to give you a little glimpse of her journey to her “Egypt.”
Heather: Jason and I went to Kenya in 2005; we were going to get a ‘feel’ for it to see how we liked it. It was then that we were going to make the decision on whether or not we’d move there.
One afternoon after Jason taught, a few of his students took us into the nearby town. We walked into town from the school. Well, everything was chaotic: there were people everywhere, some man tried to put me in a van (taxi) so he could meet his quota of people, street children were pulling all over us. It was a very overwhelming kind of experience.
After walking around for a while, we went to this little café type place for a drink. While we were sitting there, a mob formed in the street right beside us, and we saw someone get shot and killed. The students did not seem phased by this. One of them said, “Oh, it is much better for him to get shot than what the mob was going to do. The mob was going to grab the thief and stick a tire over his head with gasoline in it and light it.” (This is a form of mob justice.)
Right then, I turned to Jason and said, “You can come over as much as you want to teach, but I’ll never move my family to Africa.”
God had to do a lot of transformation in my life.
Join us next week as Heather shares more on her journey. You will not want to miss it!