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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Coming Out of Egypt

So the children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, took their inheritance. Josh. 16:4

Joseph was brought down into Egypt by the will and actions of other people, and not by any choice or decision of his own. He was the victim of injustice in every step that led him to Egypt. He did not want to be in Egypt and he did not choose to go there, much less as a slave and then a prisoner in a dungeon for years. But God had a purpose in all of it and Joseph had enough faith in God to just trust Him through it all. By God’s grace and mercy he managed to just keep doing what was "right in the sight of the Lord," even though his situation just grew worse and more hopeless at each turn in his journey. One morning Joseph awoke in the prison just as he had for many years there. But that night he went to bed in the palace with Pharaoh’s ring on his hand and had been exalted from a prison cell to second in authority over the most powerful country on earth. The Psalmist says they hurt his feet with fetters, and he was laid in iron, "until the time that his word came…" (Psalm 105:18-19) God promised, Joseph waited, and God made good on his promise, in due time. In Joseph’s case it was a long, long time.

Joseph never left Egypt alive. Because he was there many people’s lives were saved, including those of his own family who came down into Egypt with him. There God made Israel a great nation, and 400 years later brought them out of Egypt to bring them into the land that He had promised to Abraham so long ago. When the children of Israel left Egypt they carried Joseph’s bones up with them and later buried them with those of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the land of Canaan.

And Joseph’s children left with them.

Joseph never was an Egyptian. He learned their language and ruled over their land. He lived all but the first few years of his life there. But he never identified himself as one of them. He always had his eye on another country. His dying request was for them to carry his bones out of there when they left. He married an Egyptian woman and his children were born there, also. There came a day when Joseph’s children had to decide if they were going to be Egyptians or Israelites. Obviously, history records who they chose to identify with. Although they were born in Egypt and had never known any other existence they, like Moses years later, "chose to suffer affliction with the people of God," rather than conform to Egypt’s ways. This is an important fact to ponder and to apply to our own lives.

We are born into this world and this is all we have ever known. It is really difficult for us to imagine any other existence. But there comes a time in everyone’s life when they are exposed to the knowledge of God and eternal things. At some time in their life, everyone knows. They know there is a God and they know there is another existence besides this sinful world full of injustice where everything is turned backwards. Everyone is faced with the choice that Joseph’s children had to make. Who am I? Among what people do I belong? Who will I identify myself with?

Will you become one of God’s children or will you stay in Egypt? Most people have already made their choice, but as of right now it is still not too late to change your mind. Jesus has still not come for his church and you are still breathing God’s air. You can still be born into God’s family and leave with them when they leave this world for the land of promise. You can be sure that Joseph’s descendants were not sorry for the choice they made when they finally arrived in the promised land.

So the children of Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, took their inheritance. Josh. 16:4

Mike Miller
January 3, 2012
Straight Paths Bible Church
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