so israel took his journey with all that he had and came to beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the god of his father isaac. and God spoke to israel in visions of the night and said, “jacob, jacob.” and he said, “here i am.” 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. 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.” [genesis 46:1-4]
a promise for life and death
question 1 of the heidelberg catechism goes like this:
question: what is your only comfort in life and death?
answer: that i am not my own
but belong body and soul,
both in life and in death,
to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
the full answer is worth reading and can be found with verse references here:
israel must have had his doubts and anxieties about the meeting he was facing: decades have passed since he had seen his son–would his son welcome him? would israel’s past sins of favoritism and poor parenting come back to shame him? to end his freedom or life?
the God of comfort speaks to jacob–God reminds jacob of his faithfulness and steadfastness through the generations, he reminds jacob of his promises to make a great nation from his fathers abraham and isaac and his covenant to keep them. God reminds jacob that he is with him every step of the way, that he will not abandon him in a foreign land, and a promise of both of bringing him up and burying him in his own land and a future redemption of israel when egypt becomes the land of imprisonment for his people. lastly, God promises that israel will make it to egypt and will die with his sons at his side.
God speaks to israel in a dream here, but he speaks to us mainly through his word–he he promises that if we are found him he is the one who is faithful and steadfast, the one who preserves and keeps us in life–
and i am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. [philippians 1:6]
–and in death.
for the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. therefore encourage one another with these words. [1 thessalonians 4:16-18]
we will always be with our Lord! so with the apostle we proclaim:
for i know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that i will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. [phillipians 1:19-21]
comfort and encourage one another in this truth today!