Fortify: “to make strong; impart strength or vigor to; to increase the effectiveness of, as by additional ingredients; to strengthen mentally or morally; to protect or strengthen against attack.”
God never ceases to amaze me! He is All-Powerful, Sovereign, Lord and King. He is worthy for all to bow at His feet. And by all rights, He could be allusive and disinterested in His lowly subjects. But oh, His lavish love steals my breath away! He has chosen to be actively involved, to invite us from His feet to His lap; He is our loving Father. He faithfully fortifies His own with all that is needed, and here in Genesis 46, we see the Creator of all the universe, Majestic and Exalted One, stoop to place His chosen one in the perfect place of provision; to be fortified in faith and hope, protected and sanctified.
Consider Him Who Fortifies
He Fortifies by His Company. God Personally visits Israel to impart strength and vigor through His promise to “go down with you.” All that would be needed for the days ahead was now in Israel’s possession, for he would “go down” in the great Company of Almighty God. “God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” 3 He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. 4 I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes,” [46:2-4].
He Fortifies by His Calling. He calls, by name, each of Jacob’s family to move them toward their ultimate destiny of becoming a great nation. “Now these are the names of the sons of Israel, Jacob and his sons, who went to Egypt…” [46:8].
He Fortifies by His Consolation. In his old age, Israel experiences consolation from God through the miraculous reunion with his son. “Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; as soon as he appeared before him, he fell on his neck and wept on his neck a long time. 30 Then Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive,” [46:29-30].
He Fortifies by His Consecration. God’s people are intentionally set apart so as to be wholly dedicated to their God. The distinctiveness of His chosen people would be sustained. They were shepherds, and this, being detestable to the Egyptians, would safeguard them from the cultural and religious traditions of the land. Their occupation as shepherds would also provide for their livelihood, allowing them to further maintain their independence and separateness. “When Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,’ that you may live in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is loathsome to the Egyptians,” [46:33-34].
How do we respond to Him Who Fortifies?
- Let us be fortified by His Company. Jacob moved out in faith and made himself available to God. “So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac,” [46:1]. Let us be resolved to do the same, and by faith not allow anything to compete with our time in His Holy Presence; that we would fully grasp the privilege we have to hear His voice through our time in His Word. He will speak to our hearts as well, to strengthen us for whatever lies ahead. “I will bless the Lord who has counseled me; indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. 8 I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken,” [Psalm 16:7-8].
- Let us be fortified by His Calling. May we be strengthened to live with uncompromising hope! He has called us to a great destiny! He has called us to be His for eternity, to a sure hope, to full assurance that we need not fear our future; for He holds it all is in His capable and loving hands. “Remember the word to Your servant, upon which You have caused me to hope. 50 This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life,” [Psalm 119:49-50].
- Let us be fortified by His Consolation. When life is difficult, and it will be, let us look to Him for hope and strength. When time seems to be against us, let us find consolation in His perfect timetable. When we suffer loss, let us find comfort in Him Who holds the universe in His hand. When we are confused, let us find encouragement in the provision of His Word. “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope,” [Romans 15:4].
- Let us be fortified by His Consecration. What areas is He calling you to set apart and consecrate for Him alone? Let us take time today to evaluate areas that are being influenced by our surrounding culture, perhaps through our relationships, entertainment, social media or hobbies. What things are we allowing to shape our hearts and minds so that we look more like the world than Him? Consecration comes at a cost. If we are hated by the world, found loathsome in their sight, let us remember the words of our Savior, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you,” [John 15:18-19].
Let’s Grow Together!