Don’t Tell Me To Stay, Please!

And the LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; dwell in the land of which I shall tell you.  Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you and will bless you, for to you and to your offspring I will give all these lands.  So Isaac settled in Gerar.”  Genesis 26:2-3,6

God told Isaac to dwell in the land.  “Dwell” means resident alien.  He is camped out there in ‘Promised Land Territory’ but it’s not his.  Not yet. The promise is right in front of him, right outside the flap of his tent.  How difficult.  He has to live amongst pagans.

Has God called you to dwell in a place where you are the outsider?  Others are clearly in control, and comfortable, and you are spiritually out of sync with the majority.  All you want to do is pack up and move on.  It could be a city where you live, a church that you attend, a job where you work, or even a difficult family situation that appears to be stuck in dysfunction.  You spend your idle time planning your exit, dreaming of it.  For Isaac, it was Egypt.  God said, “Don’t go!  Dwell!”

My family and I were in such a place some years ago.  We lived amongst some who despised us and acted out daily with aggression.  We were in a season of great loss, extremely vulnerable, and each time we voiced the name of the town were we lived, it was bitter on our tongue.  We begged for God to move us.

He didn’t.  His Word to me one morning in prayer came from Psalms.  “Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.”  There’s that ‘dwell’ word again.  Our family was to sanctify our home, be faithful to God, and make that little corner a place where God’s glory shone.

God moved us three years later.  (Yes, the three years seemed like an eternity.)  But I do have the gift of hindsight to recognize the treasures in the darkness.  Our faith grew, our spiritual muscles toned, our ability to endure hardship increased, and never did we feel closer to Jesus than when we needed Him so badly.

There were times you said, “Go!” That was hard but it was not as difficult as the day I heard you say, “Dwell.”  I looked to escape but You invited me to live in You.  I’m so glad I did.  Amen


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