The background of Genesis 44:18-47:27 is about Joseph revealing himself to his brothers and what follows.  His family goes down into Egypt and are received with open arms.  Yosef and his family were given favor when they entered in and received the best Egypt had to offer, Goshen.  This favor associated with this new move was granted not only from Pharaoh but YHVH also. Keep that in mind as we continue.

Yosef sums it up Genesis 45:5.

But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for Elohim sent me before you to preserve life.

The Creator is 100% about life, and this is a theme woven all throughout the Old Testament.  The Creator tells us over and over like a broken record, “If you do what I have instructed, you will have abundant life.”  Everything that Yosef had to face and overcome allowed him to become second in command in Egypt, thus giving him a position where he could be YHVH’s instrument in preserving life in Egypt.

This is why at times in our lives the battles we face are intense and sometimes perplexing – perplexing because at times we just don’t understand the why part.  If there was anyone who in my opinion had a right to question why, it was Yosef.  He was a righteous man.  Remember what he said when faced with having an opportunity to lay with Potiphar’s wife?

How could I sin against YHVH? (Gen. 39:9)

The enemy comes to not only steal but kill and destroy.  When faced with situations and trials in our lives, it is normal to wonder why we are going through the situation.  I’m sure Yosef wondered on multiple occasions, but he remained faithful and strong in his belief thus leaving you and me an example to follow.  His patience, faithfulness, and loyalty to the God of Israel paid off in the end as he was promoted to second in command in Egypt.

Let me shift gears and get to my point in this piece.  Israel became prosperous in Egypt.  They had become the movers and shakers of their day due to their prosperity because YHVH had taken care of them and was preserving their lives.  He was using them to be a light in the midst of the nations.  It all started out awesome, and prosperity was the name of the game.  Eventually, this prosperity, in my opinion, caused the Israelites to become complacent in their lives, and the things of YHVH started to become common.  Another way it could be stated is Israel began living their lives according to the status quo because they had grown accustomed to the blessings and prosperity of YHVH.  The complacency had become so strong that YHVH allowed the first few plagues in Egypt to fall on all who lived in the land in order to re-establish himself as the Almighty.

My point is this: I feel the same thing has taken place today.  Many believers have grown accustomed to the blessings and prosperity that comes from keeping the instructions of YHVH.  What once started out as life has taken a turn and is rolling downhill.  The instructions of YHVH in many believers lives aren’t seeming to have the same impact as they once did.  The hunger for righteousness and truth seem to have been refashioned into condemnation and religion.  The focus on being a light to the nations has taken on a new form. Instead of allowing Yah’s light to shine forth from us, many in the commandment-keeping movement take that light and use it to blind others, condemn others, and shame others.

This is not at all what the Creator intends or wanted from his representatives in the earth.  The quest for truth and righteousness began well just as Egypt began well for Israel. Over time, Israel lost its ability to have a positive effect on Egypt due to their assimilation and status quo attitudes.  In other words, they no longer resembled what the Creator wanted.  They possibly had a form or resemblance of something religious but no longer functioned with the purposes of the Creator in mind.

I believe we are seeing the same things today.  There are many believers that started out with a zeal and hunger to serve the God of Israel with all their hearts.  There was such a pure desire to live their lives according to what the Creator instructed that it totally consumed the very existence of their being.  It’s not a bad thing, I might add.

Over time, that desire and zeal lessened and has become more common and casual.  The blessings and prosperity due to the abundant life that the Creator granted has taken on a different light today.  An attitude of religious elitism has taken root.  This attitude produces a rotten fruit of who’s who in the world of religion.  It is unfortunate, but I see this fruit all throughout the body of Y’shua.

How did a move of the Spirit which started so pure become defiled by religion?  There are multiple answers, but I ask that question all the time.  I keep it before me because I don’t want to be one of those who becomes so elite due to my holiness, righteousness, and set-apartness that I no longer relate nor have a positive effect on those who come across my path.  Possibly, part of Israel’s problem was due to them being in Goshen and being separated from the Egyptians because they were shepherds.  Notice I said possibly because I really don’t see that fully being the reason. Even though they may have been separate from the Egyptians, they still had to do business and buy and sell in Egypt, no different than today.  Even though many think they’ve separated themselves from Egypt (the world’s system), Egypt still plays a role in their lives on a daily basis.

If believers are going to have a positive effect on the lives of others, we have to reevaluate a lot of things in our lives.  The first thing I suggest is we throw off the religious spirt that plagues the body.  The way we do this is by returning to our first love, that first love being our zeal and desire to serve Y’shua with all our hearts and giving Him everything.  If we do this and follow His example, we will put an end to this religious elitist attitude that is running rough shod throughout the Body of believers.  If we aren’t willing to return, then continue reading the book of Exodus for a preview of what is to come.  Shalom and blessings.