BIBLE READING: Genesis 46-47
Before Jacob heads into Egypt to see the son that for so many years he thought was dead, he makes a stop at Beersheba to offer sacrifices to the Lord (Genesis 46.1-4). On the surface this would seem like a small hiccup on his long journey to Egypt, but don’t be fooled, this trip was plotted. You see Jacob was no stranger to Beersheba; this place had been a solace for his family for decades. Years before when Abraham sent Hagar away, she found her way to the wilderness of Beersheba (Genesis 21.14). Then later, after a covenant with Abimelech, Abraham went back to Beersheba and planted a tamarisk tree as a sign of his commitment (Genesis 21.31-33). This place must have made some type of effect on Abraham because after his trip to offer up Isaac, he went to live in Beersheba (Genesis 22.19). After Abraham died, Isaac also spent some time in Beersheba. There, Isaac received a vision from God to reaffirm the Promise He gave to Abraham. Upon receiving this blessing, Isaac dug another well in Beersheba and there “called on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 26.23-25). This place must have also been appealing to Isaac, because it seems he was living here when he gave the blessing to Jacob (Genesis 28.10). Now it seems to have come full circle, as Jacob returns to his old home place to receive a vision from God before heading into Egypt. Periodically, it is good for us to return home. It enables us a chance to remember where we came from. It helps us by reassuring us as to where we have been and where we are going. Beersheba was a place that Jacob felt comfortable. It was a place he felt was a part of him. Most importantly, Jacob knew God was there. Of course we know that God is everywhere, but they had not yet been able to grasp that concept. We all have a Beersheba. We all have a place when we go back, we feel nostalgic about, we feel a special connection about. It’s okay to go back now and then, to reminisce about the past, remember where we came from and reset our bearings. However, we must not forget the past is important, but the future is more important. Before Jacob embarked on that long journey into the unknown of Egypt, he wanted to check back one last time; Maybe to sit under that tamarisk tree his grandfather planted and spend some time in peace with God. I pray we all seek to do the same thing before continuing our journey into the unknown. Go ahead…if you need to…visit your Beersheba.