Differences often blind us from seeing similarities. We get stuck on black and white, republican and democratic, conservative and liberal, christian and non-christian, CEO executive and hard working American. We chant “black lives matter.” Or “blue lives matter” Or “unborn babies matter.” And yes they do. Because life matters. ALL of life matters.
Devotional Scripture: Genesis 45:9-28
Key Verse: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who call you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
If you have skin and bones, no matter your color or occupation or background or whether you’re unborn or 98 years old – you’ve been made in the image of God and your life matters. But we divide and take sides because it’s easier to join with people who think or look like we do. Instead of reaching across the ever widening divide and saying, “You know what, we’ve both been made by the same God.” “You know what, we all need a Savior.” “You know what, in Christ our stories are actually similar.”
It’s true. In Christ, you and I – we’ve got the same story. Though the details are different, the outline’s the same. First God reveals himself to us. (Yes He chooses us. There’s just no way around it.) Then He pardons us, provides for us, and instructs us to proclaim his excellencies.
For every single one of us that’s the outline. And it’s mirrored perfectly in Genesis 45 when Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. And then pardons, provides, and instructs them to proclaim his excellencies, in particular to their father.
If Joseph had not revealed himself, his brothers never would have known who he was. And my friend, if God didn’t make Christ known to us, we wouldn’t know either. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44). The Greek word for “draw” is helkuo and it literally means to drag. Because the reality is we’d never go on our own.
But convicted of sin by a work of the Holy Spirit, we seek the Savior who pardons us as Joseph so graciously pardoned his guilty brothers. Though we deserve death, though we deserve hell, “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities…as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:10-12) A fact I’ll never understand and forever appreciate.
But he doesn’t stop there. Jesus then gives and gives and gives to us out of his great riches. (Go read Ephesians 1.) Beautifully displayed to us by Joseph’s generous blessing of his brothers at the command of Pharaoh. Lavishing them with tons of grace and food and a change of clothes (except Benjamin who got 5 sets of clothes and 300 shekels of silver), he says to them, “You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children…There I will provide for you” (v.10-11).
He then sent carts to carry their wives and little ones but not their stuff. Pharaoh specifically instructed not to worry about their things “for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours” (45:20). (However Gen. 46:6 tells us they still took their stuff.) (I probably would have too.)
But whether they took the family favorites or not the fact remains as long as they were with Joseph they’d be abundantly provided for the rest of their lives. As are we, when we stick close to Jesus who said in John 15:4-7, “Abide in me…for apart from me you can do nothing…If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
In other words, “Stay close to me.” “That my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (15:11). “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on…But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:25, 33).
My friend, Jesus has not only pardoned us and given us eternal life but desires to provide for every one of our tomorrow’s. If we’d simply trust and obey his fairly straightforward instructions. Which are not burdensome (1 John 5:3) but there for our benefit and His glory.
Just as Joseph instructed his brothers to go and tell their father of his great honor in Egypt, so are we to go and tell of Christ’s great honor in all the world. 1 Peter 2:9 says “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
We’ve been saved for a purpose. We’ve been saved to proclaim the most wonderful excellencies of a God willing to not only pardon our shameless sins but pay the penalty himself. We’ve been saved to tell them He is STILL ALIVE!
I can’t even fathom the conversation that must have ensued when the boys arrived back home with all the stuff and the carts and 20 donkeys over loaded with grain and bread and all the goods of Egypt (v. 23). I wonder how they said it. With remorse dripping from every word? Or with a breathless excitement? Either way, the important thing is they said it. “Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt” (45:26).
At first Jacob didn’t believe them. But when he heard their story and the words of Joseph and saw the wagons and overflowing provisions, it was enough. Because it is enough. The person, the pardon, the provisions – it’s absolutely enough. So go and tell them. Tell them your story – tell them our story. Because actually it’s His story.
The LORD hasn’t asked us to convince the world. He’s simply asked us to walk across the room or the street or the great big divide and tell them that He is still alive! Oh and we’re not to quarrel on the way! (Gen. 45:24)
Contemplate and Evaluate:
For what purpose has God saved you?
When was the last time you told someone Jesus is still alive?
Who can you share your story, our story, and ultimately His story with today?
(Photo credit: Pixabay)