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August 30, 2016, 12:00 PM

Plot Twist

by Haley MaKenna Hardman

 

            Recently, I’ve been reading through the Book of Genesis again. While reading I have Sunday School flashbacks and I ponder on some of the very same questions that I have always wondered about. From creation, to the flood, to Abraham, to Sodom and Gomorrah, and then to Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son. I think we’re all taught in our Sunday School classes about the boy who was thrown into a well and sold into slavery by his own brothers. We’re then taught that God brought him from a prison where he didn’t belong and made him second in command over Egypt. I have even recently mentioned him in another blog, “The Best You.” However, with this post, I have something totally different to point out. Deep in the folds of Genesis, there are several major plot twists. I have learned throughout the years, from observation and experience, that God works in the strangest of ways. So, when Jacob (Israel) left his home- the land that God had promised his ancestors and descendants- it may not seem so strange to us watching from the outside. We all know that Moses takes the nation of Israel back to the same land 300 years later and they increase and enjoy life for a few years before another twist in the story, but for Jacob and his family, they were taking a huge leap of faith. Now let’s back up for a minute…

            In Genesis 12, we read about God promising Abraham the land that was then inhabited by the Canaanites. To understand the significance of this, we need to know that Abraham was Joseph’s great grandfather. So, for four generations this family had been holding onto a promise for the land that the Canaanites inhabited. Jacob had put his stake in the ground and raised an entire family waiting on God to lead them to conquer the land. So, when the seven year famine came along and Joseph asked his family to join him in Egypt so that they would be provided food, Jacob and the rest of his family must have felt that they might be leaving behind the promise that God had so graciously given them.

            I can imagine myself in this moment telling God that He was crazy. “You’ve got to be kidding me, God. You promised! I don’t want to leave. You will surely provide the food and water that I need to survive because You promised me that this land would be mine.” Have you ever tried to tell God what He was going to do? But, can you imagine leaving behind the very promise that God had given you before it was completely yours? Yet, that is exactly what they did because they had faith that God would complete the work that He started…even if it wasn’t in their lifetime. In fact, when Jacob was about to die, he pulled Joseph aside and said,

 

Genesis 48:21 (NLT)

Then Jacob said to Joseph, “Look, I am about to die, but God will be with you and will take you back to Canaan, the land of your ancestors.

 

            Jacob had faith that God was taking care of them even though they had to step away from the “promised land.” You see, Jacob wasn’t focused on the gifts of God, but the face of God. Jacob had wrestled God for a blessing all night once before and he knew that if he fought God for this, he would probably walk away with another scar (Genesis 32:22-32). What would happen if we had faith like that? If God brought you right up to your “promised land” and then told you to leave it, could you do it? Jacob might have even felt that God was dangling the promise in his face and then yanking it away when Jacob got just within reach. He could’ve given up his faith and abandoned all hope…but he didn’t. With his dying breath, he breathed hope into his son to continue out the dream that God had planted inside of them.

            So, could you do it? Could you walk away from the hands of God and instead focus on His face? Now, don’t get me wrong, God’s blessings are great and we should enjoy them- He wants us to enjoy them- but when we focus on those blessings instead of Him, it defeats the purpose of Him giving us life. For example, if your dad only ever gave you gifts from his business trips, but never spent quality time with you, would you have a relationship with him? The answer to that is no. And God didn’t create us for us to ignore the quality time that He spends with us, He created us to have a personal, intimate relationship with Him for the rest of eternity. My challenge to you is to focus on the face of God this week. Instead of constantly asking Him for gifts, or asking for guidance to the promises He gives, focus on the personal and intimate times that He wants to spend with you and embrace the plot twists in life. I’ve learned that that’s where He does His best work.

 

-Haley 


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