As I was watching the news this morning I heard a startling statement - the number of households on food stamps is at an all-time high. That statement sent chills through me because in order to qualify for food stamps, you have to have hardly any assets. What this means is that all those newer people who have qualified for food stamps have lost their house and have drained their retirement accounts. They are now in a position where they cannot fall back on anything. The people in ancient Egypt were in a similar place; they found themselves completely at the mercy of the Egyptian government to provide for them. Just as our economy today has drained so many people of their resources, the famine had prevented the people in the country and surrounding areas from any income. Please read Genesis 47:13-26 to see what happened in ancient Egypt.
As the famine continued each year, the people found themselves draining all their assets in order to stay alive. They needed food more than anything else and eventually became willing to be Pharaoh's servants. Joseph provided food at a price. But, while they offered themselves up as Pharaoh's servants, Joseph still allowed them to work the land they lived on. Joseph provided them with seed, and they were to give back one fifth of their harvest over to Pharaoh and the rest was theirs to keep. This helped ensure that there would always be food in the kingdom no matter what the circumstances were. We read in Genesis 47:26 that this was a decree that was still in place 400 years later when Moses recorded these events. So, while on fifth of the harvest sounded like a lot, there was a plan in place for future disasters.
Our economy has taught us that we can plan for the future (which is wise), but we can still end up losing it all. Nothing is a guarantee except for the future we are promised in Christ. Paul told us that we change our servitude when we choose to follow Christ. Romans 6:6 (NLT) says, "We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin." Later in Romans 6:22 (NLT), Paul said, "But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life." But you see, being God's servant is an honor and holds the promise of eternal life. He is our Creator and King of all Kings! What are the things we are to do as God's servants? Love God and love others. That is simple summation of our walk with God.
Who do you serve?
This post is linked with Thought Provoking Thursday.