Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham. And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies.
When God made a promise to an old and childless Abraham that He would make of him a great nation, it didn’t happen right away. It was just the beginning of a journey that would take many years to complete. Abraham had to wait years just for his son to be born. And then finally Isaac came, but he had to grow up and have children of his own. Then Jacob fathered his 12 sons, who would produce the 12 tribes of Israel. But before they could build their nation in the land of Canaan, they had to take a detour to Egypt.
But those weren’t just wasted years of killing time. God had a purpose for that time and that place that He put them. He was building them up and multiplying them so they’d be ready for what came next. God always grows us and makes us more than we were before. He adds. He multiplies. And even in Egypt—not the promised Canaanland—Israel increased, not decreased. So we can grow right where we are. Even if we’re in the Egypt stage of our lives, it’s a time and place to get stronger. And after our time there, we will be well able to move ahead to the next place.
We have to grow in each stage of our journey, and then we can keep moving forward. Jacob’s family grew into an entire nation during that time in Egypt, and they were then equipped to eventually conquer the promised land. And so even if we are not at our ultimate destination just yet, it’s not a time to waste being idle and unfruitful. It’s not a place to wither and shrink. It’s a time to build on where we’ve already been and what we’ve already learned and keep building and learning and growing and multiplying until it’s time to go to the next place.
Life is a journey. Growth is a process. It takes time for things to happen. Not everything that we’re promised is fulfilled immediately. But in the meantime, let’s keep growing. It’s God who gives the increase. It’s God who is strengthening us and building us and making us into what we need to be for what He has for us next. It’s God who’s planned our journey and marked our steps. It’s God who is faithful to us for the duration. So let us simply trust Him wherever we are. Let us allow Him to do His great work in us so we’re able to face whatever comes next.