“So He said, ‘I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there.'”
Egypt has already played an interesting role in the narrative of Genesis. It was to Egypt that Abraham fled when famine arose, and it was to Egypt, Isaac looked, when famine struck in his day. I find it interesting that the same God who warned Isaac not to go to Egypt, sends Jacob there. We might say, Jacob was given a great commission to go to Egypt, and to further his kingdom. Later in this chapter, we read that seventy people left for Egypt, however, when Exodus begins, that number is probably well over two million.
Egypt, while a real place, is also used in Scripture to illustrate the world. Here we see an interesting contrast. The people of God are not to flee to the world in times of danger, but are certainly sent into the world with a definite purpose. Like Jacob, we have been commissioned by the Lord to further the kingdom of God. Instead of getting trapped in the affairs of the world, or hiding out in fear of the world, we should be going on a rescue mission into the world, seeking to win as many people to Christ as we possibly can. We often think we are incapable of having any real impact upon others. I think it would do us well to remember that a group of despised shepherds, living in a foreign land, facing great opposition, were formed, by the grace of God, into a mighty nation that would later defeat the armies of Pharaoh.
Let’s not shrink back in the perilous times in which we are living. Now, more than ever, the world needs the message of the cross.