We all desire to hear from God. Whether we are seeking direction, answers to questions, or words of comfort, we all desire to hear the audible voice of God. I often tease that it would be great if God would email or text, but truly, if I received an email or text from “God,” I am sure I would think it a hoax. God speaks to me through that still small voice within me, through nature, and through trusted brothers and sisters in the faith. But in our passage this week, God speaks to Jacob in a “night vision.”
God calls, “Jacob, Jacob” and he responds, “Here I am” (Genesis 46:2). This is the same summons and response of Abraham (Genesis 22:1) as well as Moses (Exodus 2:4). This is the final revelation from God to the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). The next time God speaks is in the time of Moses. This vision is a turning point for Jacob, giving him permission to leave the promised land of Canaan. Had Jacob left without a word from God, it may have seemed as if Jacob did not believe God would take care of him and his family as promised.
In this vision, God reminds Jacob of all the promises given to him and his forefathers Abraham and Isaac. God reaffirms that He will make Jacob into a great nation, but he adds the word, “there.” God reveals a little more of His plan to Jacob by letting him know the nation of Israel will progress once they are in Egypt and not while they are in Canaan. Over three generations (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), God made promises to build a great nation. He promised to always be with these men and their offspring, but the fulfillment of these promises took time.
Oftentimes, God places desires in our hearts or gives us direction that takes time to come to fruition. We live in such a “now” culture, we become frustrated when the microwave takes too long. While we are waiting on God’s promises to be fulfilled, we have a tendency to become restless and possibly begin to think we misheard God. You may have a calling on your life right now and you are waiting for God to move. Like Jacob, God may be moving behind the scenes, preparing the way. Jacob had no idea that God was elevating Joseph to a position to be able to sustain Israel as a nation through a famine. Jacob had no idea that his family would have to move to Egypt.
Keep your eyes and ears open, be prepared to move when God calls, and as God said to Jacob, “do not be afraid to go…” (46:3).