WHEN GOD WORKS THROUGH DISASTER
by Clay Wilemon
The Plan: God’s Covenant Promise To Jacob
Jacob, later renamed by God as Israel, was the grandson of the patriarch Abraham. He was also the third person to whom God implicitly gave His promise of possessing the Promised Land and of having offspring that would be God’s vehicle for blessing the whole earth.
Genesis 28: 10-15
10 Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran. 11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep. 12 And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring. 14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
The Broken Plan: A Dead Son. A Deadly Famine. An Unexpected Relocation.
Fast forward a few decades and Jacob’s situation does not look anything like the promise God gave him of possessing a land, having a huge offspring, and being in a position to bless anyone – much less all the peoples of the earth. Jacob thought his son Joseph was dead, when in fact he was not dead, just sold by his brothers into slavery in Egypt. There was a global famine that threatened their very existence; and his other sons had gotten in trouble with the governor of Egypt who was in charge of the only food supply in the world. Jacob was old, heartbroken, and on the verge of seeing his entire family die out with no lineage.
The Gospel Answer: God Keeps His Covenant Promise In An Unlikely Way
As many of us know, what Jacob saw as a string of disasters and disappointments was actually God’s sovereign plan to save His people from extinction. In fact, it was much more than that. God had put Joseph in position in Egypt and supernaturally gifted him with wisdom and discernment that was so remarkable that the Pharaoh put him in charge of Egypt’s entire industrial complex including agriculture. In this position, Joseph took God’s revealed word and set aside a food supply that would last for the entire seven-year global famine. It was also that food supply, that would keep God’s remnant of people (Jacob’s family) alive.
So, as Jacob learned that his son Joseph was not dead but in fact the governor of Egypt, he set out to with his entire family to enter into that land. That move was promised by God to Abraham in the original covenant promise. God was sending Jacob and his family into Egypt, providing them with food to survive, and would then bring them out 400 years later to take possession of the Promised Land. In His kindness to Jacob, God spoke to him once again in a dream and gave him the promise that Jacob’s family would enter Egypt, but that they would also leave again and become a great nation.
Genesis 46: 1-4
So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” 3 Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. 4 I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.”
The Outcome: God’s Covenant
God used what was disastrous and hurtful in Jacob’s life to save Israel from starvation. He used circumstances that were not in any way indicators of what He was doing. Yet, God’s covenant promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were being kept. Sibling rivalries, deceitfulness, attempted murder, imprisonment, famines, and economic disaster where no match for God’s master plan.
Exodus 12 shows us that Jacob’s family, 70 strong as they entered Egypt, came out 430 years later with over 600,000 men plus women and children. They had seen the hand of God work in mighty ways. The Egyptians had given them great wealth just to leave. And the new nation of Israel was ready to go and possess the land that God had promised centuries before.
Exodus 12: 33-37, 40-41
33 The Egyptians were urgent with the people to send them out of the land in haste. For they said, “We shall all be dead.” 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading bowls being bound up in their cloaks on their shoulders. 35 The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing. 36 And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians. 37 And the people of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children.
40 The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years. 41 At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.
Most importantly, Jacob’s offspring did bless all the families of the earth. Jacob’s son Judah is in the direct lineage of Jesus Christ. Through Jacob’s people, namely his offspring Jesus, all the families of the earth have truly been blessed.
Join Us At The 2020 Christ Community Church Men’s Conference
When Plans Fall Apart could have been the theme of Jacob’s life if it were not for God’s plan to use those broken plans for good. If you have ever had plans fall apart in your family, career, sports dreams, finances, etc. then the 2020 Men’s Conference is the place for you.
Join us on November 6 and 7 at Christ Community Church for: When Plans Fall Apart – Gospel Hope For Challenging Times. We have three speakers coming in to help us work through this year’s topic. Visit www.ccclh.org/mensconference2020 for information and registration. Guests are welcome. Registration closes on November 2 to allow time to plan for Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, and Saturday lunch.