“I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you” (Genesis 46:3,4a NIV).
God confirms His intentions through various means. Sometimes He uses progressive revelation to reveal to His servants what course of action they are to take. It is of great encouragement and comfort to note that God does speak at crucial moments of our life.
Jacob, for example, had thought that he lost Joseph, then Simeon, and then Benjamin. Then he said that everything was against him. But now here comes word that Joseph is still alive. He sees Simeon and Benjamin along with his other sons. But the news is too much for him. He is stunned. Such unexpected good news is stunning indeed. And he found it hard to believe. That was the first stage.
But then there were the carts that Joseph had sent to carry him to Egypt. He was told all the things that Joseph had directed them to tell him. Then he began to believe. He was seeing evidence right before his eyes of what he heard. He could do nothing but believe. The carts provided the evidence. When you have difficulty believing good news, look out to see whether there are “carts” waiting outside; the evidence of what was heard. This is stage two.
Now Jacob decides to move to Egypt to see Joseph. But he also remembers his God. While on the way, when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to God (In fact, in his younger days, it was from this place that he had set out to seek a wife.). That night God spoke to him in a vision. He was told not to be afraid. The best thing was, he now had God’s word to strengthen him; for he now knew that God was going to Egypt along with him.
The stages are now complete. First it was the good news. Then it was the solid evidence. And finally, it was God Himself speaking a word of encouragement.