Friday, October 21, 2011

People Offer Joseph Their Land and Themselves As Slaves - Genesis 47:18-19

And when that year was ended, they came to him the next year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent, and the cattle are my lord’s.  There is nothing left for my lord except our bodies and our lands.  Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land?  Buy us and our land for food, and we and our land will be slaves to Pharaoh.  So give us seed, that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.”

If you live for the short term, you will find there is always another short term, unless of course, you come to the end of life.  Two years earlier the people had given Joseph all their money for grain.  One year earlier they had given him all their livestock.  Now there is nothing left to trade for the essentials of life but their land and themselves.

It is funny how that works.  When all our possessions have been spent to purchase either the necessities of life, or foolishly – it does not matter – when they are gone, some of us have only two things left to barter with – any property we may own and ourselves.  And in today’s economy, I venture to say most of have only ourselves we can exchange for anything of value or for survival itself.

When you reach that point, you realize the ones that have what you want, have got you.  You have to be turned over to them as slaves – be it an addiction, be it a debt that you can’t pay, be it moral sin that you can’t have exposed and you have succumbed to their blackmail.  Whatever is the cause of your exhausted resources, if you are going to live any longer, ultimately you are no longer your own, but theirs.

That is the situation that the Egyptians found themselves in during the great famine of the land recorded here in scriptures.  But it is also the situation many people find themselves in today.  They have exhausted their own resources.  They have nothing left to give but themselves in order to survive.  And it is at this point that we have an option.  We can either give in to those people that have, or that ‘thing’ which has, brought us to this point, or we can turn to the Giver of Life Himself, and say, “I cannot do this alone.  I need You.  I welcome You into my life and allow You to take over.  I want to be in Your Hands, not theirs.”

In our Genesis story of the great famine, the people appealed to Joseph for grain and attempted to persuade him with their desire and offer to keep the land of Egypt from becoming desolate.  It would be in Joseph’s best interests, they argued, to give them seed for them to survive, so they could work the land and allow it to remain fertile.

With us, we don’t have to persuade God to do anything for us.  He knows our needs.   Later in the Psalms (chapter 77, verse 14) we will read words to this effect, “You are the God who does wonders; You have made known Your strength among us.”  As Charles Stanley says on this verse, “God gives us what He knows will bring us great pleasure and joy, even though we in our finite wisdom and understanding may not know fully what we need or desire.  God does not wait for others to initiate the provision for our innermost needs.  He assumes a proactive position in meeting our needs.  God may use other people in the process, but He creates, orchestrates, and engineers the solution that satisfies.”[1]  All we have to do is ask Him to take over lives.

My prayer is that you and I do not get caught up in a funnel that leads ultimately to our death, but rather call on God to take over our lives and our circumstances, because He alone is able to do so, to our betterment.

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[1] God’s Way Day by Day, Charles F. Stanley, Calendar, entry for October 21.

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