It Seemed Like the Right Thing to Do
I can scarcely begin to tell how many times I have advanced a decision to do something based exclusively on the notion that it seemed like the right thing to do. By God’s grace, not every choice was dreadful; sometimes things turned out well and other times, not so well. Our Father would rather our movements be in harmony with His and so, through His servant Israel He provides instruction, that if pursued will facilitate discerning His will before we leap haphazardly.
Digging Up the Past
Israel is about to enter Egypt and he stops. I suppose his memory drifts back to the days of his grandfather Abraham who found himself in a similar predicament—there was famine in the land and he too went to Egypt for resources. At the time, to Abraham it must have seemed like the right thing to do, but his grievous error was in not seeking God’s will. Despite the fact he returned a wealthy man, part of his yield included a slave girl named Hagar, who would bear him a son named Ishmael, the likes of which the world still struggles today.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2
Israel is unquestionably anxious to see his son Joseph and to obtain provision for his family, but he stops just short of entering in and inquires of God. While impatience, eagerness, and enthusiasm are my customary stumbling blocks, Israel demonstrates that selfishness will not stand between him and his relationship with his Father. Subsequently, God honors that sacrifice by authorizing and confirming Israel’s entry into Egypt.
“I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.” Genesis 46:3-4
Ready, Set, GO!
Not so fast. This is the stage where many of us would proclaim, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” as we geared-up to move forward with God’s blessing, but Israel’s reaction is quite different. Relaxed and poised he selects his son Judah to go before him and to greet Joseph. Why Judah? Because the name Judah (in Hebrew) means praise—Israel moves forth with praise and praise leads the way! Let us by sacrifice seek His will and then proceed with our praises toward Him.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. Psalms 100:4