TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 46
As the chapter opens, Jacob and his family, servants, and livestock had begun the move to Egypt. We find them in Beersheba which is the southernmost town in Canaan. There Jacob stopped the journey, built an altar, and offered sacrifices to God.
Beersheba has played an important role in the Biblical narrative since we first met Abraham. He dug a well there. Abraham lived there after offering Isaac on Mount Moriah. Isaac lived there for awhile. And it was from Beersheba that Jacob would leave to go to Laban’s home to find a wife. At Beersheba, God appeared to Hagar, to Isaac, and now He would appear to Jacob.
We all need those places that are spiritual markers in our lives. Those may actually be physical places. For example, I can take you to the place in the pastor’s study at First Baptist Konawa where I asked Jesus to save me. Those spiritual markers may actually be more memories of times that God did a most special thing. I think Beersheba was one of those places. It was a physical place but it held many incredible memories of God doing some very special things.
In verse 2, God spoke to Jacob. He called His name twice. There are a couple of important things here. One, God knew Jacob’s name. God is not some distant deity that is out of touch with His servants. He is close. He is personal. He knows things about us that no one else knows. And, yes, He knows our names. It is more than a bit crazy to think about the fact that God knows our names.
The other important thing to notice here is that, as I have already said, God called Jacob’s name twice. There is an interesting pattern of this throughout the Bible. As God prepares to speak to an individual about something of great importance, He calls out that individual’s name twice. Maybe that is just to get that person’s attention. Maybe it is a reinforcement that God knows who that person is. Maybe it is that God is about to do something significant.
God’s first words to Jacob at this point were for Jacob not to be worried about going to Egypt. God promised to go to Egypt with Jacob. He promised to do a great work among Jacob’s family there. And He promised to be with Jacob throughout the rest of his days on this earth.
We have a pretty good understanding of the omnipresence of God as well as His omnipotence. In other words, we know that God exists everywhere simultaneously. We may not understand that or truly comprehend it but we know it to be true. We also know God is not limited. He can do whatever He chooses to do wherever He chooses to do it.
From the ancient, eastern view this was a very different perspective. Their gods or idols were always limited. They could only “work” in certain areas and they could only “do” certain things. So, God is showing Himself to be bigger, stronger, and different from any of the idols of that part of the world. God stands alone in this universe as the one, true God.