Friday, 25 December 2020
"But don't be sad that you sold me into slavery here or angry at yourselves, because it was God who sent me ahead of you to preserve life." (Genesis 45:5, CJB)
This is what Joseph says to his brothers when he tells them he is the Viceroy of Egypt. Are these just reassuring words to stop his brothers feeling bad, although noone knows they are true? At the other extreme, do we believe that G-d tells people to do "bad stuff" which is wrong to bring about His purposes? Or is it somewhere in the middle, that G-d uses whatever actions people take to still weave His design and purpose for our lives? These are questions and debates that have been argued for years and will probably continued to be argued for many more years to come.
However we settle the question of how G-d's sovereignty and man's free will intersect, the Bible does seem to paint a picture of there being certain things that we are meant to do. We can clearly see individuals in the Bible (Moses, Joshua, Samson, Samuel, to name but a few!) who had a calling on their lives to do specific things. It is an uncomfortable idea in this day and age of inidividual rights and freedoms, but I believe that we are all commanded individuals. We all have basic duties and obligations to perform in our families, communities and wider societies; but those of us who have chosen to identify as part of G-d's family have a greater obligation to be an active part of His story and His witness on earth.
Whether we feel we have a calling on lives for some specific vocation or profession or whether we are quietly leading responsible lives in obscurity, we all have a responsibility to be kind with our actions and words, to be generous to those we come into contact with, to respond to the Ruach's voice nudging us to do something, to speak up for the oppressed and neglected.
G-d sends us all ahead to preserve life, in big ways or in small ways we will never know. This Shabbat, let us ask Him - and ourselves - if we are willing to do that and walk in His good works?
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10, NASB)