Daily D – Genesis 47:30-31
“When I rest with my ancestors, carry me away from Egypt and bury me in their burial place.” Joseph answered, “I will do what you have asked.” And Jacob said, “Swear to me.” So Joseph swore to him. Then Israel bowed in thanks at the head of his bed. GENESIS 47:30-31 (CSB)
You have to wonder when you read this text, was Jacob thinking about his heritage or his descendants when he made Joseph swear to bury him with his ancestors? Was this a matter of honoring the past? Or, was this about hopes and dreams of the fulfillment of God’s promises?
Maybe it was both.
It was important to Jacob, Israel, to remember where he came from. He who ran from his big brother and stayed gone for a couple of decades, at last, with fear and trembling, made his way home again to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and yes, Jacob. God had kept his promise so far. God had surprised and blessed him with the discovery that Joseph was alive and making more than his own dreams come true. God would continue unfolding his plan in his timing and in his way.
Jacob would not miss it for the world. Israel had a hope and a future, and he wanted a front-row seat, even in his death, to what God was going to do. He wanted to be planted back where it started, back where it continued, and back where God said he would bless him forever.
Joseph swore. Joseph and his brothers wept. Joseph fulfilled his promise. Jacob got carried away, carried away home.
There are places in the heart that are treasured and more than fondly remembered. These places shape our lives indelibly. Their imprint is upon us wherever we go, whatever we do. This is especially so when we experience God as Jacob did. Even though he was experiencing God’s blessing in Egypt with his son in charge of the whole country and with his rapidly increasing family around him, it was not home. It was not the place where memories resided.
Egypt taught Israel and family many new truths about God. Jacob, however, wanted to be near that place where the ladder reached down from heaven to him. He wanted to be in that place where he wrestled with God and emerged with a victory and a limp. He wanted to be near his beloved Rachel and all the memories of what he gave and what he endured to win her love.
Jacob wanted to go home.
Be it ever so dusty and dry, windy and warm, barren and empty, God promised to fill it with his descendants, with nations and kings. Egypt was respite. Egypt was alluring. But Egypt would never be Home.
Jacob went home. Years later, Joseph joined him. Is there anything in our lives more holy than the death of those chosen and dearly loved by our Father in heaven?
I will go home.
Our Father, as beautiful as our memories are, as delightful is the recall of your unexpected presence and blessings in hallowed places past, something calls from the other side promising more than instances of divine intervention. It promises presence eternal. It promises endless moments more wondrous than any we have experienced thus far. It whispers deeply and tenderly the promise of Home. In your timing and in your way, we will arrive. What a day! What wonder! What benediction! Amen.
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1 Chronicles 22:9-13 But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign. He is the one who will build a house for my Name. He will be my son, and I will be his father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever.’ “Now, my son, the Lord be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the Lord your God, as he said you would. May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”