About 13 years had passed since Jacob was told his son Joseph was dead. Maybe his other sons had even come to believe he was dead as well. Joseph wasn’t dead. In fact, God used him to feed all of Israel’s household. In doing that Jacob detoured away from the land promised his grandfather, Abraham. How easily we can all get stuck in a detour in life.
Now hurry back to my father and tell him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me master over all the land of Egypt. So come down to me immediately! You can live in the region of Goshen, where you can be near me with all your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and everything you own. Genesis 45:9-10
Jacob and his family lived in Canaan, the land God promised to give to his grandfather Abraham. However, because of the famine that plagued the entire world, Jacob needed to move out of that land. So with God’s approval, he took his family to Egypt. Here’s what God told him.
“I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.” Genesis 46:3-4
Did Jacob Get Stuck in a Detour?
They were given one of the best regions of Egypt and they began to flourish. Life was good. There was plenty of grazing land for their flocks and all of their needs were being met.
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Now that your father and brothers have joined you here, choose any place in the entire land of Egypt for them to live. Give them the best land of Egypt. Let them live in the region of Goshen. And if any of them have special skills, put them in charge of my livestock, too.” Genesis 47:5-6
Life was good for Jacob and his family, but somewhere along the line, they became satisfied in the land of Goshen. They never even considered moving back to the land God promised them.
The people of Israel had lived in Egypt for 430 years. Exodus 12:40
It wasn’t until the Egyptians put them under the bondage of slavery that they cried out to God for deliverance. And even with that, when things got rough for them after their departure they were pleading to go back.
What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness! Exodus 14:11-12
So how does this apply to you and me? God has a plan and purpose for each of us. Sometimes He reveals His plan before we start our journey through life. Other times His revelation for us comes as we take each step along the way.
Sometimes We Take Detours
Sometimes though, detours happen. Some of them are approved by the Lord. Like in Jacob’s case in the scriptures we read. While others come because of choices we make.
When I graduated from college God had a plan for my wife and me. We weren’t willing to listen to His plan and tried multiple things on our own to get into the ministry.
We ended up stuck in a detour for 2 years. Then we decided to start walking through the doors that God was opening for us. Then we found ourselves in the center of His will as we ministered as children’s evangelists.
If we had stayed on the detour we had created for ourselves things would have been very different. We may have never been involved in leading hundreds of children to the Lord.
That’s what happens with many people though. Even in our detours, God does some good things for us. But we get satisfied with those good things and sell ourselves short of where God really wants us.
We become complacent and all of a sudden the good things God gave us in our journey become our taskmasters. It started out great for the nation of Israel, but they overstayed their welcome.
Lord, help us to press toward the goals you have for us. When detours in our lives come steer us back into your will.
Check out this related post called How to Trust God in Difficult Circumstances.
Read Genesis 45 to see this part of the story.
Featured Image Image by sdmacdonaldmiller from Pixabay
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