Jacob, Jacob
Based on Series of Sermons on the Repetition of Names and Titles
preached in PCC Worship Services, Apr 2013 to Feb 2014
Part 3 of 3


We are continuing in our study of Genesis 46:1-7 as part of our series on the repetition of names in the Bible. In our previous two articles, we considered Jacob’s fears (v. 1) and Jacob’s God (vv. 2-4). In this article, we will look at Jacob’s obedience (vv. 5-7).

Jacob’s Obedience
(vv. 5-7)

We read in these verses,

“And Jacob rose up from Beersheba: and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. And they took their cattle, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob, and all his seed with him: His sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt.”

The first thing we notice is Jacob’s obedience. He responded to the night vision with obedience. The Lord had promised that He would go with him into Egypt in verse 4. In the very next verse and onwards, Jacob rose up and he went into Egypt. No questions asked, no objections raised. The Lord’s word was enough for him. Yes, he had been much troubled and fearful, but now, he could go forward with confidence and assurance, and in obedience to God’s revealed will.

The second thing I’ll like us to notice is that Jacob was the one who was responsible for the departure of his whole family from Canaan. He was the one who was still calling the shots in his home. He, not his sons, had made the final decision to go into Egypt. Even though Jacob was very old by this time, so much so that he had to be carried in the wagons or carts that Pharaoh had sent to transport him, still he was the one who was directing his family and leading them. The last part of verse 7 says of Jacob, “and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt.”

The third thing I’ll like us to observe is that Jacob brought everyone and everything with him. He didn’t leave anything or anyone behind. That is the emphasis of these three verses. Notice how verse 5 mentions the sons of Israel, their little ones and their wives. Verse 6 mentions their cattle and goods which they had acquired in Canaan, and then at the end of that verse it says that Jacob and all his seed with him went into Egypt. Then in verse 7, we read of his sons and his grandsons and his daughters and his granddaughters, and all his seed going with him into Egypt.

The purpose of all these repetitions is to show us that Jacob took everyone and everything. Nothing remained behind in the Promised Land. He vacates Canaan completely.

Perhaps some of us have had the experience of shifting house. On the final day of the move, the movers come and take everything away. All the rooms and built-in cupboards and shelves are empty. You walk around the house to do a final inspection to make sure that you’ve not accidently left anything behind. Then once you’re satisfied that there’s nothing of yours that is left, you close the front door behind you and lock up or you hand the key over to the new owner, but either way, there’s nothing in the house that belongs to you anymore.

Jacob vacated Canaan. He left no one behind to hold the fort or to preserve the family’s holdings. This is the first time in over 200 years that no one from the covenant family lived in the Promised Land. Egypt would now be their new home and it will be so for the next few hundred years. 

Conclusion

And so we’ve looked at Jacob’s fears, Jacob’s God, and Jacob’s obedience.

In closing, I’ll like us to consider two attributes of God and how they apply to us. First, the kindness of God and second, the faithfulness of God.

We see God’s kindness especially in how He came to Jacob that night to comfort his anxious heart and his fearful spirit. Imagine how difficult and troubling it would have been for Jacob if he had to step out of Beersheba and into the wilderness on the way to Egypt without a word of promise and assurance from the Lord.

Remember that besides those reasons for fear which we looked at in the first article, Jacob bore a very heavy responsibility upon his shoulders. His entire family and household were depending on him to make the right decision, and not only that but many future generations of his descendants down the road would look back and remember what their ancestor did that day. The Lord knew Jacob’s burdens and fears and He brought him a timely word of encouragement. He did that many years ago just before Jacob left for Haran. He does it again now, just before Jacob leaves for Egypt. Praise God for His great kindness and care towards His people!

Second, I’ll like us to consider the faithfulness of God. God was faithful to Jacob. He did exactly as He had promised him, as the rest of Scripture testifies. Indeed, our God is faithful and He will always be so to His people. He will never lie to them or fail them in any way.  

Perhaps you are very fearful about what lies ahead in the near or distant future. Perhaps you are on the verge of a major decision or change in your life and a major break with your past, and you are anxious. Or perhaps you seem to be wandering around in life and seem to be getting nowhere, and you’re greatly concerned about what the future holds. Or perhaps you may be old or even at the point of dying, and you are fearful.

What should you do in such circumstances? Should you not do the same as Jacob at Beersheba – seek the Lord in worship and prayer, both private and public. Ask Him to guide your footsteps and to be with you wherever you go. And He, who is infinitely and unchangeably kind and faithful, will surely do so.

The Lord Jesus, who is God incarnate, continues to demonstrate His kindness and faithfulness toward us, who are true Jews and true descendants of Jacob. The night before His crucifixion, He told His disciples and indeed, He tells all of us, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (Jn 14:1-3).

And again, just before His ascension, He said, “and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Mt 28:20b).

Thank God for His kindness and faithfulness to us in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us seek Him earnestly, and then, with great hope and confidence, carry on in full obedience to His will.

“And God spake unto Israel in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob. And he said, Here am I.

And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt…

I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again

And Jacob rose up from Beersheba…

His sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters, and all his seed brought he with him into Egypt.” Amen.

Linus Chua