February 5, 2021
Genesis 46:1-4, 29-30
 1. So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!” “Here I am,” he replied. 3 “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. 4 I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.”

29 Joseph had his chariot made ready and went to Goshen to meet his father Israel. As soon as Joseph appeared before him, he threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time. 30 Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are still alive.”

New International Version (NIV)
One of the most difficult challenges of the last year has been our inability to see our loved ones face to face.  Our father lives in Colorado.  My brothers and I had planned to take him on a fishing trip in New Mexico for his eightieth birthday in 2020. He has had another birthday since then, but none of us have seen him face to face. Not good. Perhaps, with vaccinations we will be able to see him soon.  I try to imagine what that will be like.
                After the brothers sold Joseph into slavery, Jacob missed a large portion of his son’s life.  For a time he believed he was dead.  Perhaps they imagined what it would be like to see each other again.  To save his family members’ lives, Joseph invited them to join him in Egypt.  On the southern boundary of the promised land, Israel (Jacob) worshiped.  Once again, the God who had spoken to him at Bethel and had grappled with him by the river Jabbok spoke to him, promising to be with him and to bring him back. 
                In the absence of Siri, and road signs to Goshen, big brother Judah rode ahead to ask for directions.  Imagine that moment when Jacob and Joseph were reunited.  Joseph hugged his dad and wept. Then Jacob told him he could die in peace since he had seen his son again.
                Years ago I preached a revival at Baylor University.  The music for the week was provided by a group called Mercy Me.  Bart Millard, the leader of the group wrote a song called, “I can only imagine,” to describe what he would do when he saw Jesus in heaven.  It is the most requested song in Christian radio history.  A movie by the title of his hit song tells the story of the loss of his dad to pancreatic cancer.  His father suffered a brain injury and had been abusive to him until he became a believer himself.  A lesser known song called Finally Home captures something of the emotions related to seeing his dad in heaven again some day.
“I'm gonna wrap my arms around my daddy's neck
And tell him that I've missed him
And tell him all about the man that I became
And hope that it pleased him
There's so much I
wanna say

So much I want you to know
When I finally make it home."
                Each of us who has lost a loved one wonders what it will be like when we see them again.  In Christ we have the hope of seeing them. I believe we will embrace as we come to know perfectly, the same way we are perfectly known.  All the time we lost with loved ones will be forgotten in the span of eternity.  What will that be like?  We can only imagine. 
Pray with me:         
Father we thank you for the hope of seeing you and our loved ones face to face.  Comfort those who have lost loved ones.  Place the past year in context for us as we continue to grieve losses.  Fill us with your hope, your peace and your joy.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen. 
Scripture memorization for this week:    
Romans 8:28-30
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Ephesians 3:20-21
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.
New International Version (NIV)
Our 2021 Every Day with Jesus readings will follow the Foundations Bible reading plan.  Copies of the reading plan are available at Tallowood Baptist Church, or download your copy here:
We would love for you to join us as we read through the Bible in one year, while still having the flexibility of reading 5 days per week.  In addition, I will continue my long-standing practice of reading one Psalm a day through the year.  We will also memorize 2 scriptures each week.  As we journal together this year,  Robby Gallaty’s H.E.A.R. plan is a good resource: Highlight a verse that stands out to you, Explain what it means, Apply that truth to your life and Respond to what you’ve read with an action or prayer.

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