“They said morever unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.”-Genesis 47:4
Genesis Chapter 47 is a treasure trove of spiritual principles and historical insights.
Let’s take a look at one important spiritual insight that could easily be passed over in a cursory reading.
And by the way, keep in mind we should never rush when studying Scripture.
If you try to plow through the Scripture at a rapid pace just to meet some arbitrary study deadline you have set for yourself, so much treasure that could have contributed to your growth will be lost.
Pray first and then slowly immerse yourself in the Word all the while being spiritually sensitive to what God is trying to communicate to you.
Okay, notice in verse 4 that the word used to describe Jacob’s family’s stay in Egypt is “to sojourn“.
The implication is that their stay in Egypt will be temporary.
In other words, they are to be guests, NOT citizens in Egypt.
Remember, in Scripture Egypt is both a specific country and a symbol for the world in general.
So here we see that although Israel will be staying in Egypt, they are not to become too attached to or too comfortable in Egypt.
Now, as believers, is this not how our attitude and our relationship to the world is supposed to be?
Many times we are exhorted to not become too attached to the world because we are just sojourners on a temporary stay until we go home to the promised land.
Now here’s another interesting point.
Take a look at Genesis 47:27.
“Israel lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years.
They acquired possessions in it and were productive,
and their numbers multiplied greatly.”
One commentary I read interestingly pointed out that had the Hebrews not acquired holdings and therefore became land-bound, they would not have become slaves.
In other words, the point being made is that once they acquired holdings, their status had changed from that of “sojourners” to “citizens” in Egypt!
From God’s perspective, this is a big no-no!
Now I’m not saying this commentator’s take is 100% correct but I believe the underlying spiritual principle being promoted is true.
We are not to become too attached to the world or the things of the world.
Because whatever we become to attached to we become enslaved to.
It seems like the Israelites became too attached to the comforts of Egypt and as a result became enslaved in Egypt.
We’ll also see in the Book of Exodus that even after the Israelites had left Egypt, the Egypt inside of them still remained and this caused all kinds of problems in their relationship with YHVH.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“I have given them your word, and the world hated them,
because they do not belong to the world —
just as I myself do not belong to the world.
I don’t ask you to take them out of the world,
but to protect them from the Evil One.
They do not belong to the world,
just as I do not belong to the world.”
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles
to abstain from the passions of the flesh,
which wage war against your soul.”
-1 Peter 2:11
“Do not love the world
or the things of the world.
If someone loves the world,
then love for the Father is not in him;
because all the things of the world
— the desires of the old nature,
the desires of the eyes,
and the pretensions of life
— are not from the Father
but from the world.
And the world is passing away,
along with its desires.
But whoever does God’s will remains forever.”
-1 John 2:15-17