"You are not your own; you were bought at a price." ~ 1 Corinthians 6:20
If we saw each other on last week's Midweek Motivation, you'll have an inkling that I've been spending a lot of time digging around Genesis. I'm going to acknowledge at the outset that the wanderings of my mind to get to today's message were a little odd.
We'll take an Old Testament story far out of context... or will we? Perhaps it was foreshadowing? Only God knows.
I suppose you can decide for yourself whether or not it was a reach on my part. : )
Let's journey for a moment to Egypt. The Jewish people are not yet slaves. Jacob/Israel has recently arrived with his family. The famine has begun.
The Egyptians come to Joseph and say, feed us, don't watch us die!
Joseph's response here is not taken well by all contemporary observers of this story, but I think there's a valuable lesson. He says, you can have food, but you must trade something of value.
Value for value, even in hard times.
It reminds me a little of Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians. He hears that some Christians are using the message of salvation and eternity as an excuse to do nothing, be nothing, contribute nothing, and lead undisciplined lives. In response he says, "For even while we were with you, we gave you this command: 'If anyone is unwilling to work, he shall not eat.'"
I'm not dismissing the need to help those who are truly in need, Lord knows I've been there and been on the receiving end of that kind of help, and if you know my story, you know. But, when we have something of value to exchange, when we have the capacity to be of value, it seems consistent from the beginning of the Book to the end, that it's our responsibility to be/do/contribute. Not the point I'm trying to make, but timely and important nonetheless.
When it gets to the bitter end in the midst of the famine and the Egyptians truly have nothing left to offer in exchange they say, "Purchase us and our land in exchange for food. Then we, along with our land, will be slaves to Pharaoh. Give us seed that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate."
Genesis 47 continues, "So Joseph acquired for Pharaoh all the land in Egypt; the Egyptians, one and all, sold their fields because the famine was so severe upon them. The land became Pharaoh’s, and Joseph reduced the people to servitude from one end of Egypt to the other."
On the surface it seems dispassionate and unfeeling. It lands as harsh, hard, and cold, perhaps.
It's sad, an absolutely horrible circumstance. Our hearts grieve for the Egyptians and want help to come from somewhere for them. On this journey of life, we know people go through hard times and seasons of famine, both literal and metaphoric.
I don't know how many times I've read these verses before, but this time something new jumped out at me... It's a beautiful reflection of who we are and become when we surrender ourselves to the Father. In choosing the Son, we are bought with a price.
We place ourselves in servitude to the Will of the Creator of the Universe, trading value for value. Though our lives were His anyway, He wants us to offer them willingly, and that takes something.
Verse 23 & 24... "Then Joseph said to the people, 'Now that I have acquired you and your land for Pharaoh this day, here is seed for you to sow in the land. At harvest time, you are to give a fifth of it to Pharaoh, and four-fifths will be yours as seed for the field and food for yourselves and your households and children.'"
We surrender our lives to our loving Abba Father and He gives us seed for planting and nurturing and harvesting. We must do our part, but He does His as well.
And we turn to Him and say, as they did in Genesis 47 verse 25, "You have saved our lives... we have found favor in our [Lord's] eyes, and we will be [the servants of YHWH.]"
The bits in brackets I added with a great deal of poetic license, may God forgive me if I took the parallel too far.
Whether I did or not, I have to say, it has reminded me and grounded me in the truth that the story is consistent from beginning to end. The story of the Savior shows up in the beginning. It has foreshadowing footsteps all the way up to His birth, and His footsteps live on through our own feet beyond His resurrection through the ripples of time.
They had to choose sacrifice, to lay down everything they had in exchange for a future. We lay down all we are, all we have, and leave it to Him what we get to keep, what we have to let go, where we shall go, and who we shall be.
We too, willingly become slaves.
We surrender all, to be a servant to The King.
May we honor that Truth well as we wend our way through this world.
God will take care of us, but we must step up and step out, we must do our part, as we make ourselves accountable to Him.
Though we are free in Christ, we are just as much bound, yoked, and beholden to Him as the Egyptians were to Pharoah. An exchange made for life.
What a privilege, to be bound to Him.
Thank You, Heavenly Father, Thank You, that we are Yours.
Thank You, that we are sealed in the Truth with the promised Holy Spirit.
Thank You, for growing our faith day by day, for growing our strength in it as we walk with You.
Thank You, for calling us to Your service and writing us into Your story.
In the name of Yeshua Ha Mashiach Ben Elohim, we pray. Amen and amen.
"You, little children, are from God and have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." ~ 1 John 4:4
"... Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good purpose." ~ Philippians 2:12b-13
"I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like a mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you." ~ Isaiah 44:22
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus Song of Praise... ♥
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