Devotional & Reflection

Week 1, January 2005

Gen 46 :
God’s Redemptive Activity

By Pang Hee Hung, Katartizo Resources Ltd

v. 1 So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. v. 2 And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, "Jacob! Jacob!" "Here I am," he replied. v. 3 "I am God, the God of your father," he said. "Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. v. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph's own hand will close your eyes." v. 27 the members of Jacob's family, which went to Egypt, were seventy in all.

Do we come from a dysfunctional family? Is there hope for such family? Be encouraged, for Jacob (now known as Israel) came from a dysfunctional family.

We have seen how favoritism drove a wedge between Esau and Jacob, culminating in the usurping of the elder son’s blessings by the younger. This happened because Isaac and Rebekah were no longer communicating (See Devotions – Gen 27). It would take twenty years before the brothers would meet again and be reconciled (Gen 31:41; 33:9-12).

Then, Jacob was deceived by his sons. He was told that Joseph was killed by ferocious animals when, in reality, Joseph was (Gen 37:33) was sold into slavery at a tender age of 17 (Gen 37:2). The reunion between Jacob and Joseph would occur 22 years later.

In Shechem, Jacob's daughter was raped. In retaliation, Simeon and Levi killed every male in the city whilst their brothers looted the city (Gen 34:25-27). Thereafter Jacob’s family had to live in fear under the threat of the Canaanites’ vengeance (Gen 34:30).

Was not Jacob's family life traumatic and dysfunctional?

But there is hope.

God revealed Himself to Jacob at Bethel when he was fleeing Esau (Gen 28:12-15, 35:7). Then Jacob wrestled with God. Or more correctly, God wrestled with Jacob as he prepared to meet Esau (Gen 32:24, 30). Jacob then returned to worship at Bethel after the Shechem incident. And God blessed him (Gen 35:9). In this passage, God again spoke to Israel.

God also speaks to us in spite of our dysfunctional background – just like Jacob. And He helps us in our recovery from dysfunctions – just as He provided Jacob a place to flee after provoking Esau. He reconciled Jacob and Esau. He provided Jacob and his family respite from reprisals after the massacre of the Shechemites – and eventually, a re-union with Joseph.

God told Jacob to go to Egypt. In Gen 46 Jacob was directed to go to Egypt. Egypt was the place of refuge for Jacob / Israel's family of seventy people. It was the place where food was available when there was famine everywhere else. It was the place of re-union with Joseph. It was a place of recovery – a place of re-building the tribes.

God provides a place for each of us to recover, to seek refuge, to reconcile, to re-unite, to rest, to be revived and to re-build.

1. In what ways are our families 'dysfunctional'?
2. What are God’s provisions in helping us deal with it?
3. What do you need to do to embrace God’s healing power?


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