Now Jacob dwelt in the land where his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. This is the history of Jacob. (Genesis 37:1)
After Jacob’s ordeal and a brief mention of Esau’s family, the Bible now its attention back to Jacob’s family, and as we will see, primarily upon Joseph who is destined to be leader of the family. In this verse it is implied by the Hebrew word ישב yashev (translated as “dwelt”) that Jacob intended to retire from his sojourn and live out his days in the land of Canaan. Why wouldn’t he? He had fathered the twelve tribes. He had survived the exile in Syria and his confrontation with Esau. Lastly, he had fulfilled his vow at Bethel. Would it not have reasonable to presume that he would be permitted to settle down?
As the story unfolds, we see that this was not to be. Rabbinical commentary argues that this was not possible because his purpose was not complete. There was still more that he had to accomplish for God’s purposes. Thus we are reminded that to those who are given much, much is required of them (Luke 12:48). Where Jacob’s family was concerned, Joseph would lead the way, but all of Israel would follow, including Jacob.
God’s people are not purposed to sit still and be quiet; to do so leads to stagnation and eventual death. A brand new automobile that is left sitting idle on the street will eventually deteriorate into a pile of rust. That is because it’s purpose is to move. Likewise the Kingdom of God — and consequently, its citizens – is designed to be on the move and to advance against the kingdom of darkness. That is to say that, because we are called to be light, we must often go to where the darkness is. As long as we are breathing we are to be moving forward in God’s purpose. Yes, it may be that with age our pace will grow slower but we are never to get comfortable with sitting in a pew. Until our race is finished we must continue moving toward the goal.
Blessings and Shalom,