Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. The land of Egypt is before you. Settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land. Let them settle in the land of Goshen” (Genesis 47:5-6). Pharaoh means for Jacob and his family to make a home here in the land of Goshen, but hidden inside that word ‘settle’ is often a whisper of compromise, of settling for less. It can even mean “to sink gradually or slowly to the bottom.”
By no means was Goshen the bottom. It was the one-time domain of the great Pharaoh Rameses, the best of the land of Egypt, but it wasn’t the land God promised to Jacob, “the land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you” (Genesis 35:12). To take Pharaoh’s offer would be to settle for something other than what God had designed for Jacob.
May I brag about my dad for a moment? My dad taught math to junior high students for 35 years. The pre-teen years are an age of terror for most people, but my dad delighted in them, in shaping these young students not just for math, but for life. It was more than his job, it was his passion. He was made for the classroom, made to teach. Early on, he had been offered advancement into school administration. It was attractive and lucrative, but it wasn’t what God had designed him to do and he stayed in the classroom. I’ve always admired that he didn’t settle, in this case, for more.
“Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen. And they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly” (Genesis 47:27). Sounds good, doesn’t it? But there is more to the story. The people of Israel would become the slaves of Egypt. For 400 years, they would sink slowly and gradually to the bottom, until God called a man named Moses to lead them out of Egypt and back to his land of promise. But that’s another story.
This story is about my dad. My dad did not settle. He taught me the best life is to discover what God has made you for, grab on and give it you got.
My God, your design in all of creation is amazing and wonderful. I see that everywhere I look, so remind me of that when I look in the mirror. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, made on purpose for a purpose. May I give my whole heart to you and live the life you have set before me. God, help me to never settle for less, or even what might appear to be more, than what you want for me, because I know your desires are my greatest delight.