Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Goshen is Still Egypt

31 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.
32 The men are shepherds; they tend livestock, and they have brought along their flocks and herds and everything they own.'
33 When Pharaoh calls you in and asks, 'What is your occupation?'
34 you should answer, 'Your servants have tended livestock from our boyhood on, just as our fathers did.' Then you will be allowed ti settle in the region of Goshen, for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians."

Genesis 36: 31 - 34 (NIV)

The land of Goshen  is named in the Bible as the place in Egypt given to the Hebrews by Pharaoh to dwell in during the famine. The region of Goshen is located in northeastern Egypt, in the The Delta of the Nile River, where it empties into the Mediterranean Sea. It's been quite a while since I studied geography but I remember enough of what I studied to know that Goshen was a very fertile land to live in. In fact, looking it up on the internet I discovered that most of early Egypt's economy was built around the Nile Delta and the Egyptians thrived as a result of the fertile lands of the Nile Delta.

In a time of severe famine, during which Israel (Jacob) and his descendants journeyed to Egypt to be reunited with Joseph their kin who was now Prime Minister of Egypt, Goshen represented a huge upgrade with several opportunities in store for them to settle in and prosper. Much so that this line:

 "Then you will be allowed to settle in the region of Goshen,
for all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians"

didn't seem to mean much to them.

I would think that they would have been be put off by such a statement or at least been put on guard, and would endeavor not to stay longer than necessary knowing that they were not just only being tolerated but were DETESTABLE to their new hosts. Instead, they made the mistake of lingering in the land in which they were not only strangers but were DETESTABLE strangers, long after the famine which drove them there had ended they lingered and paid the price for it all because for a while they prospered there.

6 Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, 
7 but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.
8 Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. 
9 “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. 
10 Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”
11 So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh.

Exodus 1: 6 - 11 (NIV)

We all get to places that serve as Goshen for us - a huge upgrade from where we are coming from, holding immense possibilities for us to prosper in and though we know that those who "own" those places find us detestable, we opt to stay there for survival but make the sad mistake of lingering because we find some measure of prosperity there, instead of working towards leaving as soon as possible. For whenever you get there, I'd like to remind you that Goshen is still Egypt and that your Promised Land is still somewhere ahead waiting for when you're bold enough to rise and leave your Goshen.

Towards a better humanity,

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