Following the journeys of God’s people throughout Scripture can provide us with a fuller picture of the intricacy of his plan for our salvation. It can also deepen our trust in a Creator and Protector whose understanding of time is not our own understanding. As you read through this series of 25 journeys throughout the Bible (to mark Bible Gateway’s 25th anniversary), may our prayer be that we appreciate God’s timing as it fulfills his plan instead of our own short-sighted scurrying.
1. In Genesis 11:1-9, Noah’s descendants migrate from Mount Ararat to Babel:
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there…But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building…[and] the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city…
2. In Genesis 12:1-9, Abraham trusts God and travels from Ur of the Chaldees to the land of Canaan:
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you…So Abram went, as the Lord had told him…
3. Once there, Abraham then must leave Canaan and stay for a time in Egypt, as told in Genesis 12:10-20:
Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe…
4. Rebekah leaves her homeland of Haran to be Isaac’s wife in Canaan in Genesis 24:
“The Lord, the God of heaven, who brought me out of my father’s household and my native land and who spoke to me and promised me on oath, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give this land’—he will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there…”
5. Isaac, like his father, Abraham, commands Jacob not to marry a Canaanite woman, but to return to his family’s people for a wife (Genesis 28-29):
“…May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham…”
6. In Genesis 32-35, Jacob wrestles with God and His promises as he goes from Haran to Bethel:
Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”
Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God,who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.”
7. Jacob’s son Joseph is sold by his brothers from Canaan to Egypt in Genesis 37:
…when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
8. God puts Joseph in a position to aid his family when they flee the drought in Canaan to live in Egypt (Genesis 42-46):
Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt.
So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.
9. By Exodus 2:15, God’s people are enslaved in Egypt, and Moses flees from Egypt to Midian:
When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.
10. From Moses’ return as God’s mediator who leads the Israelites out of Egypt to Joshua’s leadership at Jericho, God leads his people gradually back from from Egypt to Canaan. Abraham’s line has come full circle, and God’s promises are never once forgotten.
11. Famine once again calls God’s people into exile in Ruth 1. This time, however, God calls Ruth (a Moabite) out of Moab to go back to Bethlehem with those returning there.
In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
12. In the days when God’s people were looking for a king, God granted their wish by leading Saul out of Gibeah to Samuel in Ramah (1 Samuel 9):
…Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed this to Samuel: 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him ruler over my people Israel; he will deliver them from the hand of the Philistines. I have looked on my people, for their cry has reached me.”
13. After God rejects Saul as king, Samuel is told to go to Bethlehem to anoint David. (1 Samuel 16):
“…I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
14. When David is anointed king over Judah in 2 Samuel 2:1, the Lord names the town where he should go:
David asked, “Where shall I go?”
“To Hebron,” the Lord answered.
15. Word of the Lord continues to spread throughout the world in the days of King Solomon (1 Kings 10):
When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions…
16. Rehoboam is also called to a journey to accept his mantle as king. He travels from Jerusalem to Shechem in 1 Kings 12:1:
17. Elijah, a prophet of the Lord, flees Jezebel—wife of Ahab and queen of Israel—and goes up to Mount Horeb where God reveals himself (1 Kings 19):
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness.
18. in 2 Kings 5, Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, travels from Syria to Samaria to be healed by the God of Israel:
19. The captives of Judah, exiles in Babylon are allowed to return to Jerusalem when the Lord moves the heart of Cyrus king of Persia in Ezra 1:
“‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them…'”
20. Even the Romans were unwitting subjects to God’s will when Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world, sending Joseph to Bethlehem where Jesus was to be born (Luke 2:1-4):
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
21. Like the queen of Sheba visiting Solomon, once again foreign kings are compelled to journey for news of the Hebrew God (Matthew 2:1-12):
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
22. Once the Great Commission has been given, Acts is the account of those earliest missionary journeys. God’s Word is to be spread to all nations and all peoples, and Philip follows this command by going to Samaria in Acts 8:5.
23. Saul to converted on the road to Damascus where he had traveled from Jerusalem to attack the Jesus movement in Acts 9:
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
24. In Acts 11:19-26, Barnabas goes out from Jerusalem to plant a church in Antioch:
Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.
25. And finally, Paul goes himself to the heart of Jewish persecution in Rome, so that he may spread the Gospel there (Acts 21:16-28:31).
Some content taken from Willmington’s Guide to the Bible, by Harold L. Willmington. Copyright 2011. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. (Available for purchase at BibleGatewayStore.com)
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