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God's Promise: Genesis Part Two |  the galaxy with stars and  purple, orange, and blue clouds. God's Promise: Genesis Part Two |  the galaxy with stars and  purple, orange, and blue clouds.

Daily Devotional | In, But Not of It

How should a Christian engage with the world? Jesus called His followers to be in the world but not of it (John 17:14–16). Both the terms “in” and “not of” are important. They call us to be deeply engaged with the world, but not to become like the world. As many have noted, we often seem to get this backward. We are “of” the world, but not really “in” it.

Genesis 47 shows how Joseph and his family tried to maintain this balance. Joseph was careful to ensure that his family lived in a separate region of Egypt. Because Egyptians despised shepherds, it would be easy for them to maintain their own identity. Joseph’s father also affirmed his commitment not to become assimilated to Egypt. After living in Egypt for 17 years, Jacob made Joseph swear that he would not bury him in Egypt (vv. 29–30). He wanted to be buried in Canaan, the land God had promised. Joseph and his family were committed to not being “of” Egypt.

Even so, Joseph was a leader in the Egyptian government. Throughout the famine, Joseph wisely distributed the food in a way that was beneficial to the people and to Pharaoh. After people ran out of money to pay for grain, they negotiated with Joseph to sell first their livestock and then their land to get food (vv. 16–19). By the end of the famine, the people were essentially sharecroppers. Pharaoh owned the land technically, but the people could use and farm it provided they paid a 1/5 tax. This was the same level of taxation that existed before the famine. The people were grateful to Joseph for this arrangement, they declared, “you have saved our lives” (v. 25).

Go Deeper

What would it look like to be in the world but not of it for you? What are ways Christians can be in the world today but not of it? How do we sometimes get this wrong?

Pray with Us: Lord, show us how to put our trust in You, and not in the things of this world. Help us turn to You in hardships, like Joseph did. May we remember that “your love is better than life” (Ps. 63:3).

BY Ryan Cook

Dr. Ryan Cook has taught at Moody Bible Institute since 2012. He earned his bachelor of arts in Bible and Theology from Moody and his master of arts in Old Testament from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He has worked in Christian education and served as a pastor in Michigan for seven years. During his time as a professor at Moody, he earned his doctorate from Asbury Theological Seminary. He now lives with his wife, Ashley, and their three children in the Chicagoland area.

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