Genesis Day 66: Transition Points: Moving & Settling
How many times in your life have you moved your home?
For the first half of my life, I didn’t move very much. However, in the last 13 years, we have moved 5 times. I have family in the military; one of them used to joke, “No sense cleaning the closets, we clean them out when we move every 2 to 3 years.”
While moving to a new location can sometimes bring excitement, it is also sure to bring lots of work, and the challenge of forming new relationships—it is always a time of transition.
The Bible in chapter 47 of Genesis presents us with a very common experience: moving and getting resettled in a new location.
Yet this episode is not quite so common. In this instance, those who are moving won’t have to worry about missing relatives—everyone is moving together!
This period of time is one of a large transition. Picture the scene. An entire people group is moving into a new country, while an extreme multi-year famine is underway. Certainly, these new inhabitants, with their sheep, will strain resources. It is good that Pharaoh welcomes them.
Yet I am left to wonder about the common, everyday Egyptian. How are they processing this mass immigration? Add to the scene that the people of Egypt have used up all their food and all their money. They are now selling their land, and themselves, in order to have food (v.19).
The scene is dire.
So often, in life (and therefore in the Bible), a situation is not resolved in one chapter. Yet, we might find ourselves living in a transition point: one of those moments in our lives (either personal, family, village, or even national) when how we perceive the world changes.
Jacob’s family now lives within the confines of a nation. No longer sojourners. The Egyptians find a very different race in their midst. A race that does not have to sell themselves into servitude for food (v. 12).
Add to it that Pharaoh, their ruler, has appointed for his Number Two, someone from this race. Perhaps his ethnicity was not noticed before. Now that Joseph has brought his entire family, though, his distinction is sure to be noticed.
Pharaoh’s warm welcome (even after they tell him they are sheep herders, which Egyptians despise, v. 46:34) demonstrates God’s hand upon the situation. Which I believe is a huge lesson from this chapter. If we ask, God will be with us in difficult moments. God has told Jacob He would be with him (46:3). We see this principle elsewhere in Scripture, Deuteronomy 31:6. When we are seeking to follow God’s direction for our lives—He is with us.
For Jacob, another part of this transition is putting affairs in order. One such detail is his place of burial. Jacob makes Joseph promise to bury him in his own country—which is not Egypt.
There are a few more details to put in order, but for today, getting settled in the land is a pretty tall order.
Let’s not forget that God is in the middle of all of this. He promised Jacob that He (God) would go down to Egypt with him—and so He has.