Go or stay

Genesis 26:2-5
The Lord appeared to Him [Isaac] there and said, "Do not go to Egypt.  Do as I say, and stay here in this land.  If you do, I will be with you and bless you... just as I solemnly promised Abraham, your father.  I will cause your descendants to become as numerous as the stars... and through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed.  I will do this because Abraham listened to me and obeyed."

Perhaps because, over the weekend, I have just left one world, Canada, to enter into another one, the Congo, I found these verses particularly interesting today.  In many of our mission trainings we talk about Abraham and the mission text we find in Genesis 12:1-3 "Blessed to be a Blessing"- God's promise to bless Abraham and how Abraham and all his descendance were to become a source of blessing for all the other families of the earth.  Here in Genesis 26 God is restating the same principles and promises to Abraham's son Isaac, that miracle son who didn't even exist when God spoke of a multitude of children in Abraham's family line.  But today I noticed a real and important difference in the two texts.  To Abraham, before giving the promise to bless him, God told him to go, to leave where he was and head to another land where he would bring the blessing of God to the nations.  Here, to Isaac, God does not tell him to go, in spite of the fact that a famine is everywhere in the land.  Rather He tells him to stay and not go.  And if Isaac will obey and trust God in this - to stay - just as He had told Abraham to obey and go, then God promised blessing - blessing of descendants, of a homeland and mostly of His presence with them.

So why is this important?  The fact that God told one of His servants to go and the other to stay where he was, is significant for us, I believe.  It is God who determines which one is to obey by going or obey by staying.  Abraham, you go.  Isaac you stay.  So it would seem that it is not really so much the location or the actual staying or going that is important but the obedience to God - doing whichever, whatever He asks them to do.

It is also in both the staying and going that God promises to be with them and likewise with us.  Jesus Himself, when He gave us the great commission, said we were to make disciples of all the nations and that He would be with us always in order to accomplish that task (Matthew 28:18-20).

And the blessing that God promises to pour into Abraham and Isaac's life is to, in turn, become a source of blessing for all ethnies.  Those blessed are expected to bless.

So whether I am here in Congo, there in Canada, or anywhere else in the world God might ask me to be, my life is to be spent blessing the nations of God with the blessing of God I've received.  And the same goes for you.  God has blessed you in Jesus Christ.  His plan is either to have you go or stay but in either case, your life should be galvanized by truth that you are here on this earth to be the blessing to the nations.  Oh, and He has promised to be with you as you obey Him in that endeavour.


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