It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how many times I read the Bible, each and every day, something new surfaces. I don’t know if it is a heightened level of serene contemplation, therefore more aware of what I am reading, or just hungry. Either will do.
This time it is from the Joseph story. The Bible says Joseph’s family moves into Egypt. The district of Rameses was the best part of the land, the most suitable for raising a family and grazing livestock. The tribe was lost in delirious wonder as they recalled how the events of the past several decades unfolded. However, their expectation darkened into anxiety and evanescent shades of worry dominated.
When their supplies ran out, the entire region finds itself in the “years of the lean, ugly cow.” Fearfully, with dread and apprehension the tribe makes a dreadful decision, they approach their brother and familial savior, Joseph and in their petulance make a vow which had centuries of negative after affects. “Buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we with our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh” (Gen 47:19).
Just like Esau, the brother of the patriarch Jacob, the tribes give up their inheritance and freedom for food. King Stomach can have an irremediable effect on the direction of our lives. This is why fasting is so important. No other activity (kind of an oxymoron) has more power and gain than this one. It centers us. Reminds us of who is really in charge. If our stomach rules, we break the first two of the Big Ten.
The entire family sells out. The ensuing trouble of slavery, toil, bondage, and difficulty just don’t seem like a fair trade. Granted I am here now and they are there then, so it is easy for me to say, “No, don’t do it!” But they do, their words ensnare them for generations to come.
There is a lesson here saints. If you have made some capricious vows in a time of desperation and the resulting consequences overwhelming- back up, repent, and see if you can rework the deal. No amount of temporary relief can be worth a lifetime of security and peace.
Just a few thoughts.