The biblical character Joseph is one of my favorites in Scripture. We are studying Genesis in BSF and I arrived in time for Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. We are in chapters 46 to 48 where Jacob is relocated to Egypt after Joseph was reconciled with his family. Change is hard and I hate it frankly. If I had my way, I'd be doing the same thing at the same place with the same people. When Jacob was to relocate God gave him a midnight vision telling him not to be afraid. There was a time when God commanded Jacob not to go to Egypt. Now the Lord's plan was exactly that. Does that mean God is whimsical or arbitrary? No it means that a sovereign and loving God is in control of our lives and what may be right at one time isn't right in another. we should never presume upon God but listen to him speak through His Word.
Once Jacob heard God he moved out immediately. Partial obedience is still disobedience. God wanted to bring Jacob and his family to a greater maturity. When things change in our lives, God is working to make us complete in Jesus Christ. He is forming our character to resemble that of His Son. Changes stretch us. That may be why they are so hard for me. God wants us to thrive not just to survive. This past year has been full of changes--some good and some bad. But I have grown because of them. Ofttimes God will send adverse and even hostile environments in order for us to mature.
When we depend on God we can conquer even in the most hostile of environments. The more we recognize our dependence on God, the better the outcome. We truly are dependent on Him even for the very breath we take. When we are discouraged, we need to remember God's promises. Jacob remembered God's Promised Land. He told Joseph to bury him with his fathers. Jacob knew that one day Israel would occupy Canaan. Before Jacob dies in Egypt he blesses Joseph's two sons. Contrary to tradition once again the older son would serve the younger. God often opts to act in unconventional ways. Even if we don't understand Him we are to follow His commands. God is in the business of maturing our faith. He did so with His people in Genesis and He is doing so today. We are to listen to God, believer His Word and obey Him fully.