Spoken Prayer – Out loud, pray for God to speak to you through your reading. Praise God for giving us His Word. Ask the Spirit to help you read with faith, and to live out what you hear from God through the passage.
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Gathered to My People
by Mary Alice McGinnis
In today’s reading, Jacob (Israel), has just finished blessing and giving his final words to his 12 sons. As Jacob lies on his deathbed, he says, “I am about to be gathered to my people.” He then makes Joseph promise to bury him with his grandfather, Abraham, his father, Isaac, and his wife Leah. They were his people. When Jacob dies, it says he “breathed his last and was gathered to his people.”
During this time of the Pandemic, many of us feel disconnected and alone. As I am writing this devotion, I am preparing to have some long-awaited overdue time with my sisters. We have not seen each other face to face in quite some time. I cannot wait to see their faces, hug them, catch up, share some laughs, tell stories, and just share some special time together. In today’s vernacular, they are “my peeps.” Even though we have vastly different lives, we are family, we share a history and a sense of belonging that time and distance cannot diminish. Being together feels like coming home. In Jacob’s case, he was dying. Yet he looked forward to being “gathered to his people.” In a debate with the religious leaders of His day who denied the resurrection of the dead, Jesus pointed to the death of Jacob for a reminder.
Jesus says, “. . . have you not read what God said to you, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Matthew 22:32
Jacob, who was of the lineage of the children of promise (children of Israel), knew something. He knew that even though he was dying in a foreign country (Egypt), he was not a citizen there. He did not belong there. Death was a reality, but he knew a BIGGER reality. He was going home to be with “his people.” He did not put his hope in just being buried with them. He was going to LIVE with them, together in their ultimate promised land, their home in heaven. The great faith chapter, Hebrews 11, spells it out this way,
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13-16
If you are feeling like you don’t know who your people are or where you belong, let this song speak to your heart today.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for preparing a home for me, a place where I belong, in Your presence, fully accepted and forever loved. Thank You for the faith of those who are our spiritual family and those of courageous faith who have gone before us. Thank you for all of those who are Your people, those whom You are not ashamed to be called their God. These are also my people. We look forward to that day when we will be gathered with YOU together in our Heavenly Home.