Message: In Exodus 1 Joseph and all of his
brothers had died and there was a new king that didn’t know anything about
Joseph. I thought it was interesting that he didn’t know the history of the
land and wasn’t aware of a man that was so powerful and instrumental in Egypt.
What he did know was that there were a lot of Israeli people and they were
continuing to multiply. They already lived segregated from the rest of Egypt
because even though Joseph was the #2 in command of Egypt and lived in a palace,
his family members were all shepherds. Egyptians despised shepherds and didn’t
want to live among them. Instead Pharaoh had given them “the best of the land” and
also put them in charge of his own livestock. God blessed them because of the blessing
over Jacob and the favor given to Joseph. The king was afraid of the Israeli
people because they were thriving and growing. He was afraid that they would continue
to outgrow them, outsmart them and eventually take sides with their enemies in
battle and defeat them. Instead of strengthening a relationship with them he
decided to oppress them and make them their slaves in order to “wear them down”.
He underestimated their stubborn ways (they are the descendants of a very
stubborn Jacob) and of the favor of God over them. The more he oppressed them,
the more they multiplied and thrived even in slavery.
Command: Don’t let fear and insecurity get in
the driver’s seat.
Promise: As I appreciate the value of others,
my own value increases.
Warning: My own self-preservation instincts
will lie to me when I try to push past fear and insecurity. Keep pushing past
Application: As I read this I thought about how
much people have not changed since the beginning of time. There are patterns throughout
history and we can see them at varying degrees in our personal relationships. When
people fear the strength, blessing or abilities of other people, they try to
shut them down, oppress them, eliminate them, discredit them or enslave them to
try to stop the threat of their success. This is the work of weak, insecure
people. People that are more secure know that teaming up with people who have
strengths that they don’t have will make them better and more successful. Weak,
insecure people fear the success of others. Their fear drives them to try to
control either with power, or passively with a victim mentality. If they are in
a position of power they will abuse it and if they have no power or position
they will isolate and rehearse a false narrative in their own minds. This behavior
can be as broad as racism and bigotry, it can show up through jealousy and
rivalry of a smart or successful coworker, or in the dislike of a good looking
or talented person. It is the same spirit behind all of these situations and it
shows up in all types of day to day encounters where insecurity drives people.
We all have insecurities and we all can find ourselves on both the giving and
receiving end of this in different situations. When I look at this I have to
ask myself who I have seen as a threat to my own value on any level at all. Even
if I don’t act out of that insecurity, what internal narratives are in the
background of my mind that would try to feed my insecurity with false
justifications? These are hard questions. Nobody wants to view their
insecurities for what they are and we are so quick to deceive ourselves with
plenty of excuses. My challenge to myself is to identify those moments when I
feel that twinge of insecurity rise up, and then intentionally find or create
opportunities to defeat it by building relationship, encouraging and supporting
that person. I have had people tell me in the past that they thought of me a certain
way when they observed me from a distance, but once they got to know me the
image they originally believed was shattered as we became friends. I have done
the very same thing and laughed later on as I thought about my first impression
of some of the people in my life that I love the most.