The curious phrase: “Land O Goshen!” is a way folks in the southern US expressed amazement or angst. As we look at today’s world, the biblical land of Goshen gives us good reason for amazement and frustration.
As Christians in a fallen world, it’s easy to feel like the wheels are coming off of God’s plan. After all:
- Morality is optional.
- Truth is relative.
- Disease runs rampant.
- Power is abused.
And (here’s the rub) God stands by and allows it all.
But the land of Goshen offers us hope.
Land O Goshen — When God Made a Distinction
Some people point to the problems in the world as proof of God’s absence or apathy. On the other hand, some religious folk get in the game and point to God’s judgment as the reason for terrorism, Isis, and hurricanes.
The problem is, we want God’s so-called acts of judgment to stop at property lines (usually ours). We prefer clear delineations, just as God made in the plagues on the land of Egypt in the book of Exodus.
After the seventh plague, when hail destroyed crops and cattle, Pharaoh’s court officials asked him, “Do you not realize that Egypt is destroyed?” (Exodus 10:14-23). The horrific destruction stands in even broader relief when we read that in nearby land o Goshen, where the Hebrews lived, the land remained unaffected (9:26).
In Goshen, God made a distinction between His people and the world. Those plagues are a picture of God’s plan for tomorrow.
In today’s world where God’s common grace allows the rain to fall on the just and the unjust, the lines between Goshen and Egypt—or between believers and unbelievers—are not always clearly defined.
- When natural disasters (or “Acts of God”) devastate all lives in their wake regardless of people’s faith, it can seem difficult to understand the distinction God made in ancient Egypt.
- When terrorists take lives indiscriminately, it can seem confusing why God sits idly by and allows it.
- When cancer ravages the homes of believers as well as unbelievers, we bow our heads in confusion and cry out to God.
But we must remember that God’s unhurried methods of bringing about justice speak to His patience, not to His apathy or inability. Peter reminds us:
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. —2 Peter 3:9
The destruction of Egypt and the protection of Goshen serve as small examples of what God will bring about one day on a cosmic scale. These examples are a warning to all unbelievers and an encouragement to all of us who believe.
One day God will draw the line again in the land of Goshen.
Tell me what you think: What helps you as you wait on God’s justice? To leave a comment, just click here.