Remembering the first audience of this story was the nation of Israel after they left Egypt, this verse feels extra important:
“I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again.” (46:3-4)
Most “gods” are localized. At least every one they’d heard of at this post. But now they learn and see this God travels with them.
The fact that God travels with us is often overlooked or taken for granted, but it is easily one of my top three favorite things about him. He doesn’t live in a temple in one city I have to travel to. Of course now we are His temple, but even then, before the tabernacle existed, He was present with His people. He went with Abraham from Ur to Canaan. He was with Jacob on the road as he fled Esau, and He was with Joseph in Egypt and with Jacob as he relocated.
As I deepen my understanding that God is with me everywhere, it becomes easy to feel at home anywhere. I am never truly alone. One of my favorite names for Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. He comes down, He is in our midst, and He is mighty to save.
Today I was at Mt. Olympus and I thought about some of the different religions which localized their gods, or at least gave them an earthly headquarters. Even though the elevation of Olympus is only 9,573 ft, it still suggests a significant distancing of gods to humanity. They are difficult to reach and if they come for us, its usually not good news.
The LORD is close and with us. How wonderful that is! He preserves His people, that is also wonderful.