Genesis/Bereshit 37 begins this way, “Jacob dwelt in the land of his father’s sojourning’s.” One of our yeshiva students recently observed that Abraham and Isaac—Jacob’s father’s—were temporarily employed in the land as sojourners, Jacob on the other hand was a resident. The Webster dictionary defines the word sojourn as, “a temporary stay,” others have inferred the idea that to sojourn is to work and live in a land while journeying to another. Both these ideas are present in the text of Genesis 37:1.
This concept is important for us today both physically and spiritually. Firstly Jacob being a resident, one who dwelt in the land, would have the right of return to the land of promise. Today we see the media and the majority Muslim world surround the physical land of Israel, often demanding that Jacob/Israel leave the land for the sake of peace. In fact the schools of surrounding Muslim nations teach that the Shoah—Holocaust—is a lie and the religious zealots in these same nations preach that the genocide of Jacob is the only answer. It should be noted that even in the unlikely event that Israel/Jacob were to leave the land, he would eventually return, not by his own strength but by the strength of Hashem—G-d. Abraham and Isaac saw the promise and journeyed toward it, but Jacob received the promise.
Spiritually speaking perhaps we should do a reboot of our Messianic/Christian philosophy and consider this; Abraham and Isaac journeyed but Jacob dwelt. It has become popular to disassociate ourselves from immutable truth with the words, “everyone is on a journey,” while this is of course true, it must be held loosely within the mystery of absolute truth. What if we, as followers of and heirs with Messiah are no longer on a temporal journey? What if we are already dwelling? Those who journey suffer fatigue and look perpetually forward to a goal, which, as long as they journey, is always out of reach. What if we, like Jacob, have started at the finish? What if we are leaving our destination to find our destination? Of course this is only possible if we have a Joseph. It is important to note that Genesis 37 also begins with these words, “These are the generations of Jacob.” Then, in the very next line it says, “Joseph.” We do not read the words, “Therefore these are the generations of Jacob.” We read, “These are the generations of Jacob.” Then, “Joseph.” Without Joseph there are no generations of Jacob/Israel. Joseph, being a type for Mashiyakh allows us retrospective insight into the plan of G-d. Joseph is called “the lord of dreams,” He dreamed--chalam/made firm—a dream--chalom. His dreams are firmly bound both to the earth and to the universe in the eternal plan of G-d’s redemption of humanity. Who is our Joseph? Who is our lord of dreams? Is it not Mashiyakh Yeshua? It is Yeshua who leads us from our destination in Him to our destination in G-d.
Does all this mean that we are no longer sojourners? No, but, one who dwells temporarily in a land that he will one day dwell in permanently is beyond the temporal journeying of humanity. We have already begun an eternal journey in Messiah that is outside time. Our forefathers gave us the hope--ha-tikvah—which they heard from the Word--ha-d’var—of G-d. Now in our time we have been given the success of Jacob, the filling of that hope, the ability to dwell in the journey through Messiah. We have been made secure and from security we birth transformation—both personal and corporate.
Jacob dwelt in the land his father’s had journeyed through—on their way to where Jacob would dwell—and this was made possible through the life of the l-rd of dreams, without whom there are no generations.
© Yaakov Brown 2013
Spiritual leader of Beth Melekh Community, Auckland, Aotearoa, N.Z.