January 18, 2010

Gen 46-47: The World is Not My Home

Posted in Historical, Israel tagged , , , , , , , , , at 7:33 pm by Steve

Jacob, the father of the Promise, meets Pharaoh the lord of the Empire. Through the work of Joseph, Pharaoh has become very rich indeed owning all the cattle, people and land in Egypt. The genealogy of the sons of Jacob is recorded so that the reader may know the size of the tribe entering Egypt. This genealogy will become important later when we see how many leave Egypt.

Pharaoh is gracious to Jacob because of Joseph and gives them the best land of Goshen to live in. But even now, at the end of his life and living in the best land in Egypt, Jacob makes Joseph swear to take his bones from Egypt and rest in land of the promise.

I think we all live in the land of Egypt from time to time, but this world is not my home. I have a tie my kids gave me years ago for Easter, appropriate timing, that has a sort of ancient map on it and the words “this world is not my home.” We are the children of the promise and we know that when that time comes our bones too will be taken to the Promised Land where they will be restored.

Thank you God for the legacy of Jacob, a man of passion and one in whom the covenant was lived out in a very human way. Through him we have all been blessed to know that Your love and compassion knows no bounds. We thank you for Joseph and pray that we can be a type of Joseph for those we love and in our own way, save lives through our integrity, honesty, and unfailing faith.

Amen

Miscellaneous Comment

I feel that when God calls out “Jacob, Jacob” He is calling out to the patriarch of the family and settling the covenant that God made with one family, Abraham. “I am God, the God of your father,” he said. [46:3]

This draws this family covenant into a wider national covenant through the blessings of the sons, the twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob). You can see the change in identity happening through the language which does a lot of flip-flops. “Jacob left Beersheba, and Israel’s sons took their father Jacob…” [46:5]

“We will be in bondage to Pharaoh.” 47:25

I often hear people complain that giving God a tithe or 10% is unreasonable and even impractical. Pharaoh does not save his people, but buys them and owns everything. Pharaoh is not a “living god” but a shrewd business man who cornered the market on grain in a famine. He owns his own people and demands 20% payment for the rest of their lives in order to live. Contrast that with God who generously gives us everything and asks that we return 10% to be used to feed the poor and those facing tragedy, like the recent earthquake in Haiti or the poverty in Honduras.  Are you surprised we take God’s grace and generosity for granted and often begrudgingly give as little as 1%.

Pharaoh owns people and demands a 20% tribute.

God give people life and commands we return 10% to help others. Which we then ignore.

Looking back on it, I wonder who is really in bondage here!

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3 Comments »

  1. Prince's mom said,

    We are in bondage only if we allow it.

    We are in bondage if we are ignorant. We are in bondage if we are guided by such vices and deadly sins as pride and greed. We are in bondage if we have no knowledge of what will set us free.

    Life is about choices, and the choices we make are guided by what we know. If all we know is of this ungodly world, the devil’s domain, then our choices will be world-related, devil-encouraged, and ungodly. If we choose to attend church, read the Bible, and study the Word; if we choose to include and turn to God and the Spirit for guidance and discernment in all of our decision-making and all of our “comings and goings”; and if we are blessed, as am I, by a pastor who constantly reminds us, in an ungodly world, of that which God offers us and of that which He wants to do and the way in which He wants us to live, both for ourselves and for others, so that we can transform while being transformed, bless while being blessed, and “make a disciples while making a difference” then we can, do, and will break free of that bondage and help others see that they can too.

    As my pastor says, “Discipleship and Christianity are not easy; and they are not a one-time deal that you profess when you are baptized and then have done with for the rest of your life.” The question is are they worth it? Are they worth the time, the effort, the forgiving, the loving, and the serving? We will know the answer some day when and if we can “break free of the chains that bind us” and return, untethered and unrestrained, “to that gloroius world which IS and ALWAYS has been my home.”

  2. Prince's mom said,

    As you get older, people will occasionally, as well as quite often, especially on your birthday, ask, “If you could wish it into happening, would you like to return to the days of your youth?” My answer has been and always will continue to be an unequivocal “NO!” To be younger, I lose experience. To be younger, I lose knowledge. To be younger, I lose wisdom. Would I like to be prettier? Yes. Would I like to be minus the “middle-age spread”? Of course. But would I choose those worldly things in place of what I have learned from God in the midst of life-experiences that only come with years and age? No. Would I sacrifice the surprises that God has shared with me when I least expected them? Not in a heart-beat. Would I relinquish the knowledge and wisdom I have learned by reading such biblical stories as this about Joseph? No.

    Why? Because what I have learned through experience, God’s surprises, and the reading of the Bible has and will continue to enable me to deal with life. Has and will continue to enable me to depend on and trust God in the good times and the bad times. And has and will continue to enable me to find hope and be hopeful no matter what, by knowing, not just guessing, but by knowing, that God not only is in control but that He has a plan and “a purpose for my life” as well as such for others.

    What others? My brother, especially. Like Joseph, when he was diagnosed with and while he was battling colorectal cancer, he placed no blame anywhere but especially not on God, but he found that the glass was truly half-full and that his disease was because of God’s love and grace and part of God’s bigger purpose and plan for his and other people’s lives rather than because of God’s hatred, malice, and revenge.

    How much easier it is in an ungodly, devil-controlled world filled with sicknesses, earthquakes, and unimaginable human suffering if we can, like Joseph, not blame God and be angry at and resentful of Him; but trust His infinite wisdom; and, even if we choose to ask Why? while knowing that He owes us no answer; at least we know He has a reason; and that like Joseph, that’s good enough for us.

    Be younger? No. Continue growing? Yes. Chronological growth will continue. I can’t stop that; but I can and do choose to continue growing by going “further up and further in” in God’s Word and by growing from examples of His love and grace that He not only shows to me in stories like that of Jospeh but that He also shows to me in my own life-experiences and the surprises that He shares with me that I am blessed to perceive as long as “I have eyes that see and ears that hear.”

  3. Prince's mom said,

    Joseph was and is a role model.

    My brother, with his colorectal cancer, has been and is a role model.

    I wonder — wonder if because of my “knowing” both of them I, too, am and will be a role model.

    What about each of you?

    Have you been transformed by a role model such as Joseph?

    But, more importantly and rather than you being transformed, will you transform someone’s life because you are a role model living Joseph’s perspective of God’s expression of His love and grace?


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