Traveling is fun. You get to see beautiful things and meet wonderful people, and you are able to relax, to exercise and eat good food; all without the normal stresses of being at home and running a household and family and job. Traveling provides a nice little “vacation” from life.
I don’t know about you, however, but as much as I like to travel, I’m always happy to get back home. There is truly nothing like my own bed, and as much as I get tired of doing my own cooking, eating out everyday really does get old over time.
This reminds me of Israel’s story. They, too, went on a trip. Theirs, however, was not really a “vacation”; rather they were forced to leave their homes and flee to Egypt in order to survive.
And survive they did. Though there was severe famine in the land, God had prepared everything in advance for them. He had forewarned Pharaoh in a dream, He had placed Joseph in Egypt to prepare for the upcoming seven years of famine, and when the time was right, Joseph extended an invitation to his entire family to move to Egypt where they would be cared for. Despite the severity of the famine going on around them, the Bible records: “Now the Israelites settled in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property there and were fruitful and increased greatly in number” (Gen. 47:27 NIV).
But wait. Egypt wasn’t their home. Were they in danger of forgetting that they truly belonged in the land of Canaan?
This reminds me of yet another journey we are all undertaking…the journey through life on Earth. There are many troubled times, yes; but there is also much beauty around us along the way, and for most, it’s a pleasant life. But let’s remember Eccl. 3: “He has also set eternity in the human heart…” (Eccl. 3:11a NIV). We weren’t created for the life we have here. We were created for eternity. Like Israel of old, are we in danger of forgetting where we truly belong?
Although his family quickly settled into their lives in the Land of Goshen, Jacob never forgot that Egypt was not his home: “When the time drew near for Israel to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, ‘If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.” (Gen. 47:28-31 NIV).
In the same way, we must also remember that this world is not our home. Is it for naught that we are advised to, “…set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Col. 3:1-2 NIV)? Just like Israel in Egypt, we can enjoy the blessings God has given us here; however, we must never forget: “…our citizenship is in heaven…” (Phil. 3:20 NIV); and “…this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” (Heb. 13:14-27 NLT).
Jesus tells us, “…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness…” (Matt. 6:33a NIV). When we follow His excellent advice, not only will: “…all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33b NIV), but we will be ensuring that we, “…set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” (Col. 3:1 NIV).
If it feels so right to return home from vacation, imagine what it will be like to go to our Heavenly home after our little “trip” on Earth?
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.