My son, who lives in South Wales, was watching the recent big England v Wales rugby match. “Who are you cheering for?” I asked him. Would his country of birth hold his loyalty??? Well, if it did, he obviously didn’t cheer loud enough!
Joseph found himself as second in charge of the whole country of Egypt. No doubt a fancy new house to go with the job, nice jewellery, new clothes, and a great new set of wheels. (Genesis 41:41-46, 50-52) It was a whole new Egyptian lifestyle: new Egytian name – Zaphenath-Paneah, new Egyptian wife, and two sons as the icing on the cake. Joseph had it all in this new country.
Manasseh, his firstborn, was so named in recognition that Joseph could put behind him all the sorrows of his father’s household. He could forget it. He was now in a time of fruitfulness – thus his second son was named Ephraim. If there had been a Canaan v Egypt match, I wonder which side Joseph would have cheered for at this point in his life! Just how complete was his naturalization? One could hardly blame him for enjoying the splendour of his new home.
Jim Reeves used to sing a song –
“This world is not my home, I’m just passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door And I can’t feel at home in this world any more.”
How much at home do we feel? The Spiritual songs of the Afro-American slaves often pointed to a strong desire to leave this world and go to the better place. Those of us who live in more comfortable surroundings feel less of a pull that way. I remember an old Christian friend saying, “I want to go to Heaven, but I’m not homesick yet!”
But what we are called to, is living as citizens of our Heavenly kingdom, domiciled on earth. Our behaviour, culture and customs should exhibit that. Our children should learn to appreciate the tastes of Heaven. Our neighbours should be in no doubt about our true heritage. We need to nail our colours to the mast, stand out for who we are, and demonstrate that every fibre of our being belongs to God.