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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: March 15, 2024

At the end of our reading from Genesis 47 today, Jacob has Joseph place his hand under his thigh, a euphemism for Jacob’s more reproductive parts, and swear not to bury him in Egypt, but in the land of his fathers. Despite the fact that Egypt has been a land of salvation for him and his offspring, it was not the land of eternal salvation. It was not the land of promise, the land from which the Savior would come, the Savior from Jacob’s body who would bless all nations of the earth. Jacob wanted to rest in a grave that would be soaked in the blood of his Offspring, the One who blessed him after wrestling with him in his hour of doubt and fear.

Certainly Jacob loved the comfort and protection he received in Egypt. Certainly he praised God for the mercy and steadfast love he received in Egypt. But Egypt was not his home. The land of his fathers was. And so that’s where he wanted to rest until the day of the resurrection.

And there’s a way in which I think this should give us a proper perspective on how to view the world we live in, a perspective that neither surrenders us to worldliness or to despair and thanklessness. Here in our nation, here in the Egypt God has given us, we are surrounded by countless blessings. In a world full of chaos and bloodshed, God has given us this terrain of safety and peace. God has given us an abundant life. He’s given us cratering child-mortality rates, cratering rates of poverty. Even when our governments are full of evil sinners, their evil generally pales in comparison to the evil most people throughout history have endured from their leaders. This world is full of blessing beyond measure, and so we don’t need to despair over the imperfection of this life. We can live with hearts radiating thankfulness.

But this world is not our home. The princes of this world are not our King. No matter how much good Pharaoh does for us, we don’t belong to him. We belong to Christ. We belong in His Church, surrounded by His gifts. We belong to the sinless, spotless Lamb of God, the Savior from Jacob’s loins who has promised us something far greater than a comparatively comfortable life. He has promised us paradise, His kingdom of perfection and purity, His kingdom where death and sorrow and sin will never be known. Just as Jacob had a far greater promise than Egypt marked on his circumcised loins, we have a far greater promise than America marked on our hearts through the circumcision made without hands, through our baptism into the Triune name.

Thank God for Egypt, for America. But know that you belong to something greater. You belong to the Kingdom of Promise, the Kingdom purchased for you with the death and resurrection of God’s only begotten Son.

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