Remembering the Vomit

Genesis 46

No one likes vomiting.
But would you ever go back to where you vomited and start eating it?
And what’s up with the dog picture?

This disgusting illustration isn’t my idea. Proverbs 26:11 relates to a fool who, like a dog, keeps doing his dirty deeds, knowing it’s a terrible idea.

Heading to the end of Genesis, Israel is already established through Jacob, and as his life ebbs away, God gives him and his family a few reminders about how to handle things as transition occurs. Of course, it’s a nice mirror for ourselves as well.  Perhaps we still have chunks on the corners of our mouths to wipe off.

Jacob takes the time to offer sacrifices to God before heading out to see his son in Egypt (v. 1).  Jacob certainly itched to run off and see Joseph for the first time in several years, but he made the right call by stopping and briefly worshiping God on the way there.  Our eagerness to carry out our own agenda should never supersede the core need to give God the credit.  If that’s a problem for you, it’s time to re-examine your priorities.  Being “busy” is a really poor reason to skip acknowledging God or spending some time reading the Bible.

God reassures Jacob that journeying to Egypt is fine (v. 2-7). This would be the last time Israel is allowed to stay in Egypt — we can conjecture it’s because God had a plan to establish Israel as their own nation rather than depending on foreign goods (and their gods).  As the story goes, the pharaoh would get jealous, enslave the whole nation, then get God really upset and be forced to release the nation.  We’ll talk about that one later. But keep in mind the thing about the other nations’ gods.  God might put us somewhere for a season, then ask us to leave.  It might not be because we did anything wrong at all — it might just be for our own protection, to keep us from succumbing to the practices of the deteriorating environment around us.

The next significant pile of verses lists Jacob’s family tree (v. 8-26), making the Duggars look pitiful. This agonizing account disturbs me for one reason in particular: while Jacob is blessed for having so many children, the account of his descendants is a hard reminder of his impatience and flip-flopping between his two wives and their respective maids.  Couldn’t keep it in his pants. Fortunately, it’s time for moving on for Jacob and his idiocy. God might move us away from our past, but it’s important to remember our history so we don’t go back to where God told us to leave.

The chapter concludes with some warnings from Joseph about how to approach Pharaoh regarding the family’s occupation (v. 28-34).  His suggestion resembles Abraham and Isaac’s encounter with the pharaoh and Jacob’s own constant motif of deception. Joseph seems to have inherited some of his predecessors’ traits.  Yikes.

I know, that past of yours is shackling and crippling you.  But have you really sought God about how to get out?  If you recognize your need to move on, remember what Genesis 46 teaches us:
1) God first. You have the time.  Get over it.
2) Go where he tells you to go.  And don’t go back until He says so.  Quit dragging your feet.
3) Remember your past, but don’t relive it.
4) Your heritage is not who you are.  Break the pattern.

And don’t forget to brush after you… well, that’s enough.

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