Suffering Your Inheritance
These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. The total number of people born to Jacob was seventy. Joseph was already in Egypt. Then Joseph died, and all his brothers, and that whole generation. But the Israelites were fruitful and prolific; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.
The Righteous Judgment of God
Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. You say, “We know that God’s judgment on those who do such things is in accordance with truth.” Do you imagine, whoever you are, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. For he will repay according to each one’s deeds: to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; while for those who are self-seeking and who obey not the truth but wickedness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.
It doesn’t always work out the way we want, nor does it often work out in a way that is fair, but we cannot deny that God works and moves in our world.
Everyone has mixed baggage from their childhood and from the ancestors that came before them. The choices that our great-great grandparents made have huge effects on our own lives. Often they, not we, determined where we would be born, what kind of home we would live in, what kind of job opportunities we would have early in life, who we would be able to connect with socially, etc. For instance, I was born in rural Illinois because my great grandfather decided to leave his own rural home in Kentucky and move up to work in the fields in Illinois as a teenager. Instead of finishing school and learning to read, he went for a place with abundant work and food, during a time when our nation had little of either. That limited his ability to afford schooling for his children, which carried on to my own parents as well. Two generations struggled to make it through high school with one decision.
In terms of hurdles, that is nothing compared to what many other people face. It just shows that life requires effort. We cannot expect everything to be handed to us without giving up strength, maturity, and wisdom. Mind you, it is not just the trials of life that shape us, it is the mundane, day-to-day routines every bit as much. Our “normal” life teaches us what “normal” looks like and encourages us to create more of it around us.
So whatever we build, we build on the foundation that our predecessors laid for us. It is our context. The context of Moses was that he came from a people who were immigrants in a nation that had welcomed them in with mercy. Within several generations though, the Hebrew people vastly outnumbered the Egyptians who had let them in. The Egyptian Welfare eventually dried up and things became tense between the landowners and the visiting Hebrews, who were probably working those lands before they were officially made slaves along with all the other immigrants of Egypt. Moses was born into a mess.
Paul tells us in Romans, that we are all born into some kind of mess or another. We all start off in the wrong context, thanks to all those who went before us. But God’s grace even then, creates a path for us to the right place, the right context. The trouble is, just because a way is made, does not mean we have to take it. God can make the way. We have to walk it.
Where has God made a way for you in the past?
What foundations in your life do you need to move away from?
Where is God’s grace leading you today?