TODAY’S READING: Genesis 46–47
Israel offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. This family worship reflects the continuity in the blessing to Abraham: there is an expectation that all the sons of Abraham will bless the nations of the world. God’s blessing is always linked to responsibility, and He unfailingly gives to us so that we have resources to give to others. All the patriarchs repeated the expression “Here I am!” (Gen. 46:2); all the prophets lived or spoke it (Isa. 6:8); and we should constantly repeat it. The whole context for this “Here am I” refrain is to hear again God’s heart for all nations, and the entire expectation is that we spring into obedient going. Jacob/Israel was instructed to go to Egypt—it was all part of the grander plan. In the same manner, God continues to send us into the nations in order to make us a blessing. That commission is likewise always accompanied with the promise that He will go with us (Gen. 46:4).
Wherever spiritual Israel went, God blessed. The youthful Pharaoh’s wonder at wrinkled 130-year-old physical Jacob escaped royal lips and he blurted out: “How old are you” (47:7). In a harsh age where life was short, young Pharaoh assumed God must have blessed Jacob and thus submitted to blessing. Ordinarily, the greater blessed the lessor, but in this case age and some intuitive recognition that Jacob was intimate with God allowed the most powerful ruler in the known world to want what Jacob offered. It’s a fertile scene for our imagination—a wrinkled and frail old man (with all the promise and power of the Godhead) lifting his hands to bless the young, virile ruler of earth’s most fearsome nation. It is prophetic, of course. God intends (through the mouths and proclamation of His prophetic people) to bless all the nations of the earth—great and small, strong and weak, old and young. That little incident, no doubt played out in a great hall of power, is played out today in little huts and hovels all across the globe. Other Jacobs, other Pharaohs; same God, same glory.
The missions template is simple and clear. God is focused on blessing all nations through Abraham’s seed. All Abraham’s seed is heir to this responsibility. We go to the nations with the promise of God’s presence. The indelible presence of God upon us opens the hearts of the peoples of all nations that we might open our mouths to declare the heart of God. Not much has changed in 3,800 years. God is still sending Abraham’s children to the nations. He is still promising them His presence. He is still expecting them to open their mouth and proclaim. He still uses pits, prisons, and princes to save both the Pharaohs and the poor. Same God, same glory, same gospel, same grace. Same go.