Moving house is one of the biggest triggers for stress. I remember one terrible move we made, where the removals men gave up on the job, we lost the whole bunch of keys, and eventually made the exchange just a few minutes before midnight, having started at 7.30am! The move we made into our present home was a dream by comparison, but still, upheavals are not easy.
Jacob was setting out with his entire homestead at the grand old age of 130 (Genesis 46:1-7). No wonder he stopped at Beersheba to double check with God. And he had another good reason too. He no doubt was very aware of a promise God had made with his Grandfather Abraham, back in Genesis 15:13-21, that his descendants would be strangers in a country not their own, that they would be enslaved and suffer for 400 years, but eventually leave with riches, to take possession of their own land. Was this what they were embarking on? He offered sacrifices to God, there at Beersheba. And maybe those sacrifices were more than animals – maybe it was also the sacrifice of a life laid down. Sure he desperately wanted to go to his son Joseph, no doubt there. But leading them into centuries of bondage? He needed to know this was God’s path for them here and now.
And God responded, as he always does, to the sacrifice of a truly submitted heart. First, he told Jacob not to be afraid. Then he told him the good bits of the prophecy – that they would become a great nation, and that he would bring them back again to the land. And the bonus? He wouldn’t die without seeing Joseph. And so Jacob was free in heart to set off in peace.
God doesn’t promise us that everything in the garden will be rosy. We so love the ‘blessing’ prophecies don’t we? But life is made of ups and downs. And just because we face tough times doesn’t mean God is not in it. The important thing is, that he is with us. We do not need to be afraid. We can trust him and lay our lives down in submission to him, and know that it will come right in the end.