by Christopher Harbin

Free and Undefiled
Christopher B. Harbin
Gen 45:1-15; Is 56:1-8; Mt 15:10-28; Romans 11:1-2, 29-32

It is easy to categorize people and write them off. It is simple to determine means time-honored those who are worthy of our time and attention and ignore all others. Is this the freedom to which we were called in Christ Jesus?

Jacob's actions went further than his own doings. He unwittingly passed on to his children a tendency to struggle among themselves for favor and advancement. They knew the stories of Jacob and Esau. They knew how one tricked the other and laid plans to take away privilege. They had done the same with Joseph, selling him off to Egypt as a slave.

Things did not go with Joseph as they had planned, however. God took their plans and made more of Joseph through these attempts to bring him harm than they could have devised on their best days. Famine had struck the region, and God had taken Joseph from prison to place him in Pharaoh's household as administrator of agricultural produce and welfare of the land. God had warned Pharaoh in dreams that Joseph interpreted, so as to be prepared for this famine. Now the brothers had come to purchase food in Egypt, the land into which they had sold their brother for a few pieces of silver and a better position in their father's eyes.

There is just something about our desire to eliminate the competition. That is what had been going on among Joseph's brothers and between Jacob and Esau, as well. If we could just get rid of the competition, we could all go to China and bring home more gold medals than Michael Phelps this week. We have to admit, however, we would not be setting many world records. Disqualify everyone else and enter me uncontested in the Olympics, but no one would be interested in watching me perform.

That's kind of how it was for the brothers. Joseph was out of the way, but Jacob did not look with more favor upon the others. He simply grieved for Joseph and clung har ...

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