A Change in Latitude

A Change in Latitude

So [Jacob] set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.
—Genesis 46:1

When Jacob heard that Joseph was alive, it changed him. Specifically, it changed his latitude—his location. Notice his response: “Then [Jacob] said, ‘It is enough; my son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.’ So [Jacob] set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac” (Genesis 45:28-46:1).

Beersheba was at the southern part of Canaan, on the way to Egypt. It was the same place Jacob’s father, Isaac, and his grandfather, Abraham, had stopped to worship God. And now Jacob, for the first time in 25 years, worships God. Why does he offer a sacrifice at this particular place? Certainly out of thanksgiving that his son was alive. But I think there’s another reason–before he went into Egypt, he wanted to make sure this was God’s will. Jacob had grown up hearing, “Never go to Egypt. In Egypt bad things happen to good people.” Abraham made the greatest mistake in his life in Egypt (Genesis 12). And God told Isaac, “Do not go down to Egypt” (Genesis 26:2). Although Jacob had a desire to go to Egypt and see his son, he wanted to make sure it was God’s will. So he stops to worship and seek God’s guidance.

Talk about a change in attitude! Before this, Jacob would not have sought the will of God. He would have said, “I want to go to Egypt, so that’s where I’m going.” But Jacob was a changed person, so he sought to know God’s will. “God spoke to [Jacob] in visions of the night and said, ‘Jacob, Jacob,’ and he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make 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 close your eyes.’ Then Jacob arose from Beersheba; and the sons of [Jacob] carried their father Jacob and their little ones and their wives in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him” (Genesis 46:2-5).

You see, Jacob needed forgiveness too. Jacob needed forgiveness for preferring Joseph over all the brothers. I’m sure for 25 years he played the if-only game, “If only I had not favored one son over the others. If only I had taught my sons to serve and obey God.” Jacob needed forgiveness as well. When he received God’s forgiveness, that forgiveness evidenced itself in Jacob’s obedience to God.

God may be calling you to make a change in your life. And for you, the evidence of whether you are truly saved is your willingness to make that change. It could be a change in your job or where you are going to live. It might be a change in a relationship. If you are truly forgiven by God, you will be willing to seek God’s will, surrender to His plan, and make that change.

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Elvis Has Not Left the Building” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.