Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Genesis 46:31-34 (NIV)
Then Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and speak to Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were living in the land of Canaan, have come to me. The men are shepherds; they tend livestock, and they have brought along their flocks and herds and everything they own.’ When Pharaoh calls you in and asks, ‘What is your occupation?’ you should answer, ‘Your servants have tended livestock from our boyhood on, just as our fathers did.’ Then you will be allowed to settle in the region of Goshen, for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians.”
Genesis 46:31-34 (MSG)
Joseph then spoke to his brothers and his father’s family. “I’ll go and tell Pharaoh, ‘My brothers and my father’s family, all of whom lived in Canaan, have come to me. The men are shepherds; they’ve always made their living by raising livestock. And they’ve brought their flocks and herds with them, along with everything else they own.’ When Pharaoh calls you in and asks what kind of work you do, tell him, ‘Your servants have always kept livestock for as long as we can remember—we and our parents also.’ That way he’ll let you stay apart in the area of Goshen—for Egyptians look down on anyone who is a shepherd.”
“Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh, and say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me; and the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock; and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.’ And it shall be that when Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth until now, both we and our fathers [before us],’ in order that you may live [separately and securely] in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is repulsive to the Egyptians.” -AMPLIFIED
Before Joseph introduces his family to the king, Pharaoh, the great ruler of the land of Egypt; he has a little pow wow with them. This was important; for Joseph by now knew the ways of the Egyptians and how they contrasted with the way of life that God had chosen for Israel’s children. Joseph, with the wisdom that God had given him, had thought this move through from beginning to end and knew he had to separate and protect his family from the Egyptians.
In order to do so, he encouraged them to honestly speak out about their occupation. “Tell him you are all shepherds (as they were). Tell him that you make your living raising livestock and that you brought all your flocks and herds with you. This will cause Pharaoh to see the need to send you to the land of Goshen.” Even at this point in time God was trying to protect His people.
To give us an idea of the geography, we need to know this; Egypt was situated in the valley of the Nile and was low country. Whereas, Goshen was up comparatively high, and some distance from the Nile and the sea. Goshen was suited for pasture good for grazing flocks and livestock. Along the Nile River every year they had to be ready for the flooding season; not conducive to raising sheep and livestock.
Joseph made all these plans and we find that he took five of his brothers and stood before the king, (as well as his father); everything played out just as he had planned. We will look more at that tomorrow. The point that we should take from this passage is of our need to be in the World, but not of it. The Egyptians were worshipers of many gods and were into many abominable practices that God did not want His children to participate in. So God provided a way to both save them from the famine, but protect them from the people and practices of Egypt.
Consider these words that Paul gave the Corinthians:
“Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God himself put it this way: “I’ll live in them, move into them; I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people. So leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good,” says God. “Don’t link up with those who will pollute you. I want you all for myself. I’ll be a Father to you; you’ll be sons and daughters to me.” The Word of the Master, God.” -2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (MSG)
Lord, may I live my life holy before you. Too often it is easy to become distracted by the things of this World, but I ask that your Holy Spirit remind me that I am to “Be holy, even as you are holy”. Let my light shine brightly for you in this dark World. Help me to stay true to what you have called me to be; a child of the Most High.