Genesis 46-47, Psalm 15
I became a believer in Jesus approximately 30 years ago. In short, when I found my mother in the hospital, no longer alive, a woman saw me crying by the bedside and saying nothing else, simply placed her hand on my shoulder and prayed Psalm 23 in it’s entirety. A couple of weeks later, I asked the hospital chaplain for a Bible and over the next two years slowly went through it. It was then that I realized that God’s story all made sense and I gave my life to Him. My wife did not start believing until approximately 10 years ago. She is now on fire for the Lord and has been for quite some time. Until my wife came along, my walk was slow with one foot in His Word and the other in the world. My wife and I truly fellowship continually now, and both of our walks have strengthened, with both feet planted on the side of God. My son, Michael, started reading and being discipled by me around 4 1/2 years ago. Prior to this, my son was completely invested in the things of this world, he was even a club promoter prior to this. Through the Bible study he came to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior after about a year. Once that occurred he slowly shed himself of those worldly things that were hindering his walk. The last step, which he found difficult, was leaving the bulk of his friends behind and separating himself from the lifestyle they were engaged in. Once he did this, his walk clarified without one foot in the world and the other with God. He now is a deacon in his church, and has an online evangelistic ministry.
When Joseph’s family meet him in Goshen, he prepares them for his meeting with Pharaoh. He tell them in Genesis 46:33-34, “So it shall be, when Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ that you shall say, ‘Your servants’ occupation has been with livestock from our youth even till now, both we and also our fathers’, that we may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.” Joseph knew that Egyptians had a caste system in which shepherds were the lowest rung on the ladder. Shepherds were not allowed to assimilate with the rest of Egyptian society and were not allowed into their places of worship. In fact, in Egyptian art uncovered by archaeologists, shepherds are depicted as dirty and crippled and treated with scorn by the Egyptians. Joseph was protecting his family, realizing if they were absorbed into Egyptian culture they would assimilate and lose their God. Despite this, notice in Genesis 47:10, “So Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.” So many are fearful or intimidated when around celebrities, dignitaries, and world leaders. Here we see this poor bedouin from Canaan blessing the most powerful man in the world. Paul reminds Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” We who have Christ in our hearts possess something much bigger than anything the world and it’s system has to offer.
We, as Christians, must be in the world, but not of the world. We must never forget what Paul said in Philippians 3:20, “For our citizenship is in heaven. from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,”. We are citizens in heaven and ambassadors on earth. If we assimilate with our culture, we will be absorbed into it and lose our influence. Paul reminded the believers in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” Though the world separates the world into “good” vs. “bad” according to the world’s standards of moral relativism, God sees things through absolutes. We are either in Him or not in Him. We are either saved or unsaved. The world sees the world as shades of gray, God’s Word describes things in black and white. If we are to make a difference in this world we must avoid assimilating and becoming gray. We who are called by Him, must keep ourselves separate from the ways of the world so that we might influence the world.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: