Just hearing good news doesn’t really sink into our being until we experience it with all our senses, does it? Just hearing about a new show on Netflix means nothing until we watch it ourselves. Hearing about a new restaurant doesn’t mean anything until you have smelled and then tasted the food and experienced the service. I don’t know about you but I don’t buy anything to wear until my hands have felt the material. We love to see, hear, taste, smell and touch until we know for ourselves that what people are saying is true.
God knows. God gave us our senses to explore and discover new things to see if they are good for us. God also gave us emotions from His own heart to ours of pure love that never fails. God knows us from the inside out. He knows our fears of the unknown. He knows everything about us because He created us. God offers peace to Jacob on his way to see the son he thought was dead.
God soothes Jacob’s mind in yet another dream/vision with “Do not fear…”. Jacob is old. Very old. Joseph, his son who now has power to get his family through the great famine, is going to now take care of Jacob and the family in another land. It’s hard on older people who find security in their homeland they worked so hard to establish. God knows that. God’s plan and promise will accommodate Jacob’s emotions and fears with comfort as only God can. That’s how God works!
Genesis 46, The Message
So Israel set out on the journey with everything he owned. He arrived at Beersheba and worshiped, offering sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.
2 God spoke to Israel in a vision that night: “Jacob! Jacob!”
“Yes?” he said. “I’m listening.”
3-4 God said, “I am the God of your father. Don’t be afraid of going down to Egypt. I’m going to make you a great nation there. I’ll go with you down to Egypt; I’ll also bring you back here. And when you die, Joseph will be with you; with his own hand he’ll close your eyes.”
5-7 Then Jacob left Beersheba. Israel’s sons loaded their father and their little ones and their wives on the wagons Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They arrived in Egypt with the livestock and the wealth they had accumulated in Canaan. Jacob brought everyone in his family with him—sons and grandsons, daughters and granddaughters. Everyone.
8 These are the names of the Israelites, Jacob and his descendants, who went to Egypt:
Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn.
9 Reuben’s sons: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
10 Simeon’s sons: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman.
11 Levi’s sons: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
12 Judah’s sons: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (Er and Onan had already died in the land of Canaan). The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.
13 Issachar’s sons: Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron.
14 Zebulun’s sons: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.
15 These are the sons that Leah bore to Jacob in Paddan Aram. There was also his daughter Dinah. Altogether, sons and daughters, they numbered thirty-three.
16 Gad’s sons: Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli.
17 Asher’s sons: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah. Also their sister Serah, and Beriah’s sons, Heber and Malkiel.
18 These are the children that Zilpah, the maid that Laban gave to his daughter Leah, bore to Jacob—sixteen of them.
19-21 The sons of Jacob’s wife Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph was the father of two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, from his marriage to Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. They were born to him in Egypt. Benjamin’s sons were Bela, Beker, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard.
22 These are the children born to Jacob through Rachel—fourteen.
23 Dan’s son: Hushim.
24 Naphtali’s sons: Jahziel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.
25 These are the children born to Jacob through Bilhah, the maid Laban had given to his daughter Rachel—seven.
26-27 Summing up, all those who went down to Egypt with Jacob—his own children, not counting his sons’ wives—numbered sixty-six. Counting in the two sons born to Joseph in Egypt, the members of Jacob’s family who ended up in Egypt numbered seventy.
* * *
28-29 Jacob sent Judah on ahead to get directions to Goshen from Joseph. When they got to Goshen, Joseph gave orders for his chariot and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. The moment Joseph saw him, he threw himself on his neck and wept. He wept a long time.
30 Israel said to Joseph, “I’m ready to die. I’ve looked into your face—you are indeed alive.”
31-34 Joseph then spoke to his brothers and his father’s family. “I’ll go and tell Pharaoh, ‘My brothers and my father’s family, all of whom lived in Canaan, have come to me. The men are shepherds; they’ve always made their living by raising livestock. And they’ve brought their flocks and herds with them, along with everything else they own.’ When Pharaoh calls you in and asks what kind of work you do, tell him, ‘Your servants have always kept livestock for as long as we can remember—we and our parents also.’ That way he’ll let you stay apart in the area of Goshen—for Egyptians look down on anyone who is a shepherd.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
ROLL CALL is taken of the Jacob’s family so we get the picture of this enormous caravan of people and livestock making the trip to Egypt. It is also a reminder of God’s promise to make a great nation from Jacob’s offspring. The Twelve Tribes of Israel begins with these sons of Jacob. Jacob was renamed Israel by God. Israel is the nation of God’s people who will thrive in this new land. God’s Plan and Promise beginning with Abraham.
ALL THE FEELS
The new leader of the family is clearly Joseph. Imagine Joseph racing to meet his father in the land of Goshen! Imagine him tumbling quickly from his chariot and running to meet his aged father! Joseph “wept for a long time” on the neck of his father. Home is where your heart is. Home is where our family is. Reconnecting with his father overwhelmed both father and son. “I’m ready to die. I’ve looked into your face—you are indeed alive”, says this father to his long-lost son.
I’m now thinking of another father and son story that Jesus told. This son went out on his own, thinking his way was the best way. He took his inheritance from his father and partied hard. He had friends as long as he had money. When all his resources where gone, he then thought of home. Ashamed, humiliated, ready to eat what the pigs ate, he finally made his way back home. Here’s the good part; Jesus relates that the Father RAN to meet him when he saw his son making his way back home. I imagine that this father and son moment was just as emotional as the reconnection of Jacob to his son, Joseph. When we reconnect to whom we belong joy is indescribable, beyond our wildest thinking, with our emotions off the charts. It involves a peace that only Jesus can give.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” –Jesus (John 14:27)
When we come home to God, the Father, through Jesus Christ, His Son, all our senses “taste and see that the Lord is good”. We begin to know from our experiences that Our Father’s mercies endure forever for great is the faithfulness of God. (Refer to the Psalms that are full of the Truth of God!) God is forever. Are we forever connected to Him in all areas of our lives using all our senses?
When we believe, repent to the Father in the name of His Son, we come home to all He has for us. We will want for nothing because our souls will be filled. Our hunger and thirst for something beyond ourselves will be filled. The Holy Spirit, who is God, comes to reside in us, becoming a “Holy Sense”, if you will, to add to our created sense of being. God speaks through His Holy Spirit to us, fulfilling His promise to always and forever be with us. He will guide, correct, comfort with peace, alleviate our fears, and give us wisdom for this journey while leading us to His best for us—His perfect will and purposeful plan! How do I know? I came home.
Come home. See, hear, taste and feel for yourselves the love of God.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing. Psalm 34:8-9
Thank you for meeting me on the road to our forever relationship. Thank you for all you have provided, are providing and will provide as our relationship grows more intimate. Thank you for transforming my heart and mind while filling my soul. I am so grateful for who you are and what you do for your created who believe what you say. I believe. Thank you for forgiving me and loving me the way you do.
In Jesus Name, Amen