Fruitful in a Foreign Land

Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen. And they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly. And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were 147 years.” Genesis 47:27-28

The elderly Jacob, after early reluctance and limited trust, traveled with 70 from his family and household to Egypt to be reunited with the favored son he had long thought dead, and to survive. God had sent Joseph to Egypt decades earlier for the saving of His people, and although shepherds were an abomination to the Egyptians, Pharaoh allotted this family, because of his love and respect for Joseph, the best of the land. And there, far from the promised land on this foreign soil, three generations of God’s chosen were fruitful, and multiplied greatly. (Genesis 45:5,7;46:34)

Sometimes the Lord takes us from a ‘home’ of comfortable and familiar, a place of health, harmony, financial security, ease, into a foreign land of illness, discord, fiscal upheaval, tragedy, the tangled and painful consequences of dark sin, or isolation, to plant us anew, teach us, and make us fruitful. When the place is at first strange, we cannot imagine anything more than adjustment, getting through- all is unfamiliar and uncomfortable and has not yet possibilities. There is no bigger picture or longer view. But once we agree to accept that God has brought us to this foreign soil, and release ourselves to the new venture crafted by His sovereign hands, we can begin to see beyond our own wants to a farther horizon, make inroads, put down roots, and begin to grow. Sometimes what never occurred to us, never showed as the slightest blip on our radar screen, is a luxurious next place for us in God’s grand plan, and we miss out when we refuse to set out on the journey He is prompting us to take.

“I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:16,5

Am I resisting new and different, foreign and difficult? If so, likely my eyes and fears are set on those very places and things, rather than on my Lord and Leader. His plans for new work, ministry, relationships, skills, service, involvement, even habits, are creative and good. The One Who calls not only enables, but finishes the work He intends, and that to His glorious praise. Why would I pull back, or turn away? Why would I choose complacency and famine over fruitfulness and spiritual plenty? (Numbers 23:19; Philippians 1:6)

Good Master, make me always willing to go where You call, and make the most of the lands and situations You appoint. Bear Your lasting fruit through my life.

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