Monday, 24 February 2014

Gen 41a Devotional

Isn’t that a question that we ask from time to time… especially when things aren’t going our way?
I should be in charge of things – I’d make things better.
Yet that is the very identity of the children of Abraham – they were meant to be the rulers of the earth. Jacob was given this very specific promise:
And God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body. The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.” (Genesis 35:11-12)
God’s people are destined to rule the land. And yet when the 11 sons of Israel were in charge, we’ve already seen that they were more selfish tyrants than kindly princes.
Indeed all too often, when we are given ‘power and wealth’, we tend to use it for personal gain and benefit at the expense of others. One man did that very thing during Jesus’ time….
“The land of a rich man produced plentifully and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21)
Joseph on the other hand, since the very beginning seems to have been seeking the welfare of his brothers (Gen 37:14). After he was sold into Egypt, he suffered – but he brought prosperity to the whole household of Potiphar (Gen 39:5). Even when this innocent servant was betrayed and thrown into the prison – still his primary concern was for the wellbeing of others (Gen 40:4-7).
So then, what then would this man do if he could rule the world?
Now therefore let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt….so that the land may not perish through the famine.” (Genesis 41:33-36)
Even the country that had caused him nothing but slavery and discrimination – he still seeks their welfare, their benefit, their blessing. The rich man in Jesus’ parable built storehouses for himself and was destroyed. Joseph plans to build storehouses for others and is exalted.
Yet in all this Joseph acts this way not just because he’s a ‘good person’ or a ‘gifted administrator’ but, as Jesus interprets, he is ‘rich towards God’: he is fiercely loyal to who God is and vehemently trusting upon His promises – that is the sole cause of such generous and servant-hearted behaviour.
Truly if any man deserves to rule the world, it is this one.
And yet, as we have well seen, this is a picture of Christ. And Christ is the Man who not only sympathizes with those who suffer, but ends up ruling the nations seeking only the welfare and blessing of all – even those who once despised Him. He is our benevolent King.
If we believe that – what then should our response be, especially in times of difficulty, trouble or confusion?
Moses will tell us very soon…

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