From Salvation to Slavery

The story of Joseph in the book of Genesis is one of my favorites. How he was spoiled and hated, sold as a slave, honored, betrayed and then honored again. When he finally reveals himself to the brothers who hate and abused him he says an interesting thing.

“Come closer to me,” Joseph said to his brothers. They came closer. “I am Joseph your brother whom you sold into Egypt. But don’t feel badly, don’t blame yourselves for selling me. God was behind it. God sent me here ahead of you to save lives. There has been a famine in the land now for two years; the famine will continue for five more years—neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me on ahead to pave the way and make sure there was a remnant in the land, to save your lives in an amazing act of deliverance. So you see, it wasn’t you who sent me here but God. He set me in place as a father to Pharaoh, put me in charge of his personal affairs, and made me ruler of all Egypt. (‭Genesis‬ ‭45‬:‭4-8‬ MSG)

God meant for their time in Egypt to be a salvation for many. So why is it that it turns into slavery for them? What happened over the years that made them, allowed the people of Israel to accept the position of slavery.

Exodus tells us, “A new king came to power in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph. Exodus‬ ‭1‬:‭8 MSG)”. So why didn’t the people leave? I guarantee this didn’t happen overnight. I am guessing that there were political, economic tremors that had been felt and discussed for years. And I’m betting that the Israelites knew about it, saw it in the way they were treated, felt it in the stares of their neighbors.

So why didn’t someone remind them that this was never intended to be a permanent solution, this place was never supposed to be their home?

How about you and me? Are there things in your life, habits you’ve developed, places you go, a job that you took that at first helped you, at first provided comfort and help, but now you are a slave to it? Now you feel you can’t get free.

The people in Egypt had to be set free in amazing, miraculous ways. They went through 400 years of misery before they were free. You don’t have to wait for a Moses. You don’t have to wait for miracles, and you don’t want to.

You have a choice.

Salvation

Ephesians 6 and 1 Thessalonians 5

“I just got saved!”

“Are ya saved?  Are ya washed in the blood of the Lamb?”

Those who aren’t “saved”, who don’t attend church regularly or listen to Christian radio, podcasts, television, or get flyers in the mail don’t know what we’re talking about.  I don’t think many of us do.

Our thought goes like this, “I was lost in sin, dying – no, already dead – separated from God.  Then, I accepted Jesus into my life and was snatched from the fires of hell, cleaned up and given to God.  Saved.”

Whew!  I am so glad that this is true.  But it isn’t the end.

It is interesting to me that over and over again in Psalms David praises God for salvation.  He was saved from many disasters, his own bad choices, enemies, betrayal.  In Ephesians 6, Paul talks about the Helmet of Salvation.  Then, in 1 Thessalonians 5, he talks about the helmet of the HOPE of salvation.  We are admonished to work out our salvation.

I am not arguing for either side of the eternal security issue, whether praying the prayer of salvation seals you for all time.  I’m talking about what do we do with the fact that God saved us.  It is apparent to me that it is not a one time event as we suppose.  I’m saved, check it off the list.  Our salvation is a defense and, I would suggest, a weapon that we are supposed to use every day of our lives.

Are you stressed?  Remember, wrap your mind around your salvation.  Are you attacked?  Think on, meditate on your salvation.  Are you depressed?  Let the salvation of the Lord renew your mind.

God didn’t save us and then leave us.  He walks with us every day.  Our salvation wasn’t just a one time gift (though what a gift it was).  It is ours for eternity to use, to hold on to, to rest in.  To GLORIFY God for!

Perfect Peace

I’m not sure what that is but it sounds wonderful.

I run, helter skelter, through my day.  I push and pull, coerce and manipulate.  I believe in myself (at least part of the time) and know my potential and capabilities.  I get to work early almost every day, participate in meetings, advise and pray.  But sometimes I think my only motivation is that I will somehow get noticed, my value will be seen and I’ll be promoted. 

I fret over every red light (even after all that I’ve prayed over and written about).  I struggle so much with seeing every road block as an attack against my dreams and aspirations.  I’m angered by every rude driver and exalt over every time I get in front of the pack (usually through my own acts of rudeness).  I have fear about my days, my family, my job, the worship team, the church and the world.

Perfect Peace

Isaiah wrote that, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”  Ah, but once again, I see it, hear it, out of context.  I want to think that I trust Him because I talk to Him every day.  I want to believe that my mind is stayed on Jesus because I consider him, pray to him.  Verse prior – “He sets up salvation as walls and bulwarks.  Open the gates, that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.”  Verse 5 and 6 then says, “For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust.  6 The foot tramples it, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.”

But I don’t want to be under the needy.  I don’t want to be humbled and laid low.  I think I’ve been pretty clear that I want to get ahead in life.  I want to be successful.  And all too often, I don’t want to accept my need for God’s armor to surround me.  It is amazing to me that we see hear in Isaiah 26 the same use of salvation as a protector that is seen in Ephesians.  I’m convinced that part of my struggle is that I lose sight of the fact that I still need salvation.  That asking Jesus to come and live in me was only the beginning of saving me.  I will further assert that Jesus didn’t die on the cross just to keep me from burning in hell.  I was redeemed to renew the relationship God always intended between us.  I was bought and paid for by the blood of my Savior so that others would know Him and love Him too.

And what is a better way to reach them than the evidence of Him living in me. 

Let’s face it.  We all would like to know what Perfect Peace is.

And there is only one source!