And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “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, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.” (Genesis 46:2-4 ESV)
God often leads us into scary and unknown places. His plan leads us into these places, and they are not always pleasant. But He walks with us, carrying us through every trial and adventure.
Your students will learn that God may lead them into many new places and into many new adventures in their lives. Fear will be the enemy of obedience, and faith it’s friend.
When faced with the fact that Joseph was alive and had invited him to come and live there with him, Israel had a choice to make. The answer seems easy to us, but many factors could have made Israel afraid to uproot:
1. Israel was old and may have been afraid he would not survive the journey.
- Egypt was a distant and frightening land. The people and government there were very different from what Israel was used to. He could have been afraid of what would happen to his people there.
- Israel was being asked to leave the land that God had promised his people. He may have felt disobedient, or even that he was betraying the birthright that God had given his people.
Israel inquired of God, and He answered that Israel should make the trip. God also assured Israel that not only would his people go down into Egypt, but that God would also lead them out.
God often asks us to go on adventures that seem scary or out of sync with what we think He’s called us to. It’s during these times that our faith is tested, and we have to decide whether we’ll follow the call of God or go after what we think He’s called us to.
Many times the next step in what God has called us to is veiled in tasks and adventures that we would never expect or think of.
Israel chose to be obedient and took his entire family down into Egypt. Those events, and God leading them out of Egypt, form the backbone of the foundation of the country of Israel.
Have you ever felt like things that you were going through were counter-productive to what God has called you to? Discuss it.
Have you seen times in your life where you felt like you were traveling backwards instead of making progress? What have you learned during those times?
Are you far enough out from some of these times that you have learned why God led you through those paths? If you can, share with the group those revelations.
Are there adventures, paths, or tasks before you right now that have you wondering where it all fits in with God’s plan? Discuss them with the group, and after everyone has had a chance, pray for the decisions that need to be made, that faith and obedience would reign, and that God would show His purposes and paths.
Talk about Jonah. Jonah was called to preach repentance to the enemies of Israel in his time. Discuss some of the questions that Jonah might have had about this adventure. What did Jonah do? What did God do in response? For what purpose did God call him? On a sheet of paper, or a board, list some questions that you would have for God if you were Jonah at the beginning of his adventure.