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Genesis 46:3-4 - Homilies By J.f. Montgomery

Guidance.

Convinced that Joseph really lived, Jacob's first impulse was to hasten to him. But at Beersheba, ere he left the land of Canaan, he sought guidance of God. The promise made him reminds of that at Bethel. Each on the occasion of leaving the land; each revealing God's protecting care. His presence is the only pledge of safety (cf. Exodus 33:14 , Exodus 33:15 ). It was not a word for Jacob only. Had it been so it would have failed, for Jacob never returned to Canaan. It was like the promise to Abraham ( Genesis 17:8 ; cf. Hebrews 11:9 , Hebrews 11:10 ). It was the assurance that God's word would not fail. Though he seemed to be leaving his inheritance, he was being led in the way appointed for its more complete possession. God was with him in all This fully made known to us in Immanuel, without whom we can do nothing, but who by the Holy Spirit abides in his people ( John 15:4 ; John 16:14 ).

I. JACOB 'S EXAMPLE . Before taking a step of importance he solemnly drew near to God (cf. Nehemiah 2:4 ; 2 Corinthians 12:8 ). Not even to see Joseph would he go without inquiring of the Lord. Christ by his Holy Spirit is to his people wisdom ( 1 Corinthians 1:30 ). The habit of prayer for guidance, or for wisdom to discern the right way, rests on sure promises ( Isaiah 30:21 ; Luke 11:13 ), and is a thoroughly practical resource. We look not for visions or direct manifestations. But guidance is given through channels infinitely varied, though our way may seem strange; and it may be long ere we find that our prayer has been all along answered in the course of events. Why so much neglect of this? so much uncertainty? Because often men do not really seek to be guided by God. Their real wish is to be led as they themselves wish.

II. They who would be sure of God's promises MUST LEAN ON HIS GUIDANCE . They may seem to be led far from what they hoped for. They would fain have great spiritual elevation, and are kept low. They would like to do great work, and are led through homely duties; to have great powers for God's service, and are made weak. The cross must be borne ( Revelation 3:19 ), and it is sure to take a form they do not like. Otherwise it would not be really a cross. Many would willingly endure pain or poverty if they might thereby gain fame.

III. GOD 'S CARE FOR INDIVIDUALS . " I will go down with thee." The universe in its laws shows power, wisdom, and love. But what inspires trust is the confidence that each one is remembered and cared for by God, a confidence called forth by the human sympathy of Christ ( Matthew 9:36 ; Luke 7:13 ; John 11:35 ).— M .

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