As Jacob and his family go to Egypt during the time of famine, he is assured by the Lord that the Abrahamic promise of numerous descendants will be fulfilled in Egypt and that the covenant family will eventually return to the land of promise.
While in an alien land, God continues to bless Joseph with wisdom and influence so that he becomes a blessing to the Egyptians. God prospers His people as they settle in the alien land. ” 27 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.”
This sojourn in Egypt is temporary in the plan and purposes of God. Eventually God intends to bring them out. What remains to be seen is whether the people of God will settle down in Egypt, be content with the prosperity they enjoy, and eventually lose sight of the land of promise.
Ultimately their sojourn in Egypt anticipates the greater son of Jacob, Jesus, whom God will call out of Egypt (Matt 2:15) to deliver those who are held captive either by the prosperity or the oppression of Egypt.
People in urban centers are often held captive by either the prosperity or the oppression of the city. Many come to the city and stay because cities offer a promise of economic opportunity. Others remain in the city held captive by their oppressive circumstances and are not able to find a way out. The city becomes like an Egypt that first offers prosperity but often leads to oppression. Yet, whether in prosperity or oppression, there exists a restlessness of the soul.
In the midst of this restlessness, the human heart retains a feint recollection of a better promise – a place where the soul can rest. The quintessential son of Jacob, Jesus, who himself was called out of Egypt, is the one who delivers us from the Egypt of our restless of souls. Whether our souls are restless in prosperity or in oppression, they are restless and cry out for that promised place of rest. The call of Jesus needs to be heard everywhere but especially in the city: “28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mat 11:28-30 ESV)