Genesis 42:2 And he said, “Indeed I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down to that place and buy for us there, that we may live and not die.”
In the above verse, Jacob does not just say that they are to go, but that they are to go down to Egypt, perhaps, in some way unconsciously prophesying of the coming 400 years that Israel would remain in Egypt. In the second part of this unintentional prophecy, Jacob says that as a result of their going down into Egypt, they would live.
It could be said that in God’s plan, it was ordained and necessary for Israel to experience Egypt in order that they might go to the Promised Land. God’s training ground for His leaders is often an uncomfortable, desert or wilderness place.
The Hebrew word for Egypt is Mitzrayim. It means a “place of restriction.” We’ve talked before about the paths of righteousness and we’ve seen both in scripture and in the example of the lives of Jesus and His disciples that the paths of righteousness lead to high places and low places, restful places and tight spots.
Why would God use desert places to prepare His children? Well, three things happen when you are in a desert or wilderness place.
First, we are left with only two choices … trust ourselves for provision or trust God. We learn to trust God for our provision.
Psalm 111:5 He gives food to those who fear him; he always remembers his covenant.
Second, because you are alone in the desert you have to decide who’s approval you are living for.
Colossians 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,
Third, we learn the value of God’s Word in our lives.
Deuteronomy 8:3 So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.
Rejoice when you find yourself in places of restriction because God loves you; so much, in fact, that He is preparing you for amazing, mind-blowing adventures in faith.