Obedience Before Assurance (Genesis 46:1-4)

Genesis 46:1-4 (ESV)

1 So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here am I.” 3 Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. 4 I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.”


            As the narrative of Genesis follows Jacob’s trek to Egypt, we see another point of truth. Yesterday, I noted that the gospel was whispered in the events of Jacob’s sons telling him that Joseph was alive and that he should leave his home to go and be with Joseph in Egypt. In a real sense, Jacob had to exercise a life-changing faith in order to get on that wagon.


            But now we see another event that parallels much of our experience. Here God meets with Jacob and shows him that he has made the right choice. God shows Jacob that he will be blessed.


            What is interesting is that God does not tell Jacob that until after he has believed and obeyed. This is often the case in the Bible. Later, when Moses wants a sign that he has not lost it, God tells him that the sign will be that the people will worship on the mountain after the miracle has happened.


            What we can learn from this is that obedience to the word of God may indeed lead us to a place of assurance that such obedience is correct. However, that obedience may have to come first. God does not spell out our entire paths for us as we start the journey. As we trust him and obey him, he will guide us by his word and wisdom to places he wants us to be.