The Bible recounts an exciting story of the sons of Jacob during the famine that ravaged the whole earth at the time when Joseph was second-in-command over the land of Egypt. See the story in Genesis 43.
The background of the story was that after the prophesied 7 years of abundance came 7 years of deleterious famine all over the earth. When nations exhausted their proceeds (obviously they were not as informed as Egypt, so they didn’t store up food), they started to visit the land of Egypt for their meals. Jacob was also in this category of the uninformed. He instructed his sons to go to Egypt for food. They did, and they came back with Simeon locked in the Egyptian prison and a demand for Benjamin, without whom they should not come to Egypt again.
As expected, Jacob did not find the news palatable, nor was he willing to let go of the only surviving son of his favourite wife. But then, when the first purchases ran out, they were forced to get food, and once again, Jacob asked his sons to go and get the food.
The focus today is on the response Judah, his 4th son, gave to that instruction to go get food:
But Judah said to him, “The man solemnly warned us saying, “You shall not see my face, unless your brother is with you. If you will send our brother with us, we will go down and buy food; but if you will not send him, we will not go down…Genesis 43:4-5 (RSV)
In other words, the gate pass to this venture is the person called Benjamin. If he doesn’t go with us, it will be a failed venture, and we would simply have wasted our time.
When you ponder on that statement, you just may be forced to realise that the multifaceted systems of life require a gate pass, without which you will not be granted entry into the abundance within that system.
Doesn’t even life teach us that no body gets anything just because they are sincere? There is only so far you can get in life, but if you do not have the requisite demands of any system or phase, you cannot be granted access. The systems of life place a demand, a price tag on items and except you have the expected requirements, you cannot hope to get in.
In a typical society, these prices can range from specific years of experience at a program or skill set. In some other cases, life might demand an endurance level, a qualification, a specific amount of money, your physical presence, your efforts, etc. For instance, you might require a number of foreign publications to become a professor or persistence at a business venture before it eventually blooms. You might need exposure to knowledge from mentors to guide you through a successful marriage or a level of spiritual fervency and surrender to unlock a gift of the spirit.
These are price tags. And these are the type of things people are encouraged to gather in relation to their path in life, so as to maximize productivity, and personal progress or advantage.
However, as Christians, we must recognise that what the world needs, what organisations need, what business ventures need, what parenting requires is a little bit of these gate passes but a great deal of the ultimate gate pass–The Presence of God.
Essence of the Presence
To some, the idea of the Lord’s presence is your life as a gate pass sounds cliche, but it the purest truth you must never let go of. What does the Presence do? Why is this even a requirement? To what end? What is the essence?
For starters, unless by the approval of the Lord, no gate on earth can open up to you. You know this too well. That is why in spite of the great feats and miraculous acts of God, Moses still cried out to the Lord, “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up from hence” (Exodus 33:15). For those who do not know God, they are governed by what they believe is fate. But for you who know the Lord, you realise that nothing just happens.
Secondly, for the kingdom minded believer, you also understand that it is the presence of the Holy Spirit in a place that causes it to bloom. The truth is, there is a lot of things humans can do without the Spirit of God, but there is only so much true success they can achieve. Had Jospeh not the Spirit of God, he wouldn’t know about the famine, and despite the prosperity of Egypt, they too will rumble with the rest of the world. The Omniscience of the Lord kicks off into effect when man comes to the end of himself. And more times than we care to count, man has come to the end of his wisdom, his patience, his knowledge, his foresight. In that weakness, God steps in. So, you want to be that vessel through whom the Lord would intervene when the wisdom of man fails.
Armed with this knowledge, you recognize that your access into any system is for one purpose–to establish the Government of God in your own little capacity. To be, do and show the culture of the Kingdom. Therefore, it is all the more expedient, that you arm yourself with the only true requirement–The Holy Spirit– before you walk into any venture. The corporation may believe they need an effective sales manager when what they really need is an undercover agent from the Kingdom of God who will discern the changes that will occur in the market in time to come, and steer the corporation in the right direction. It will be a gross waste of resources as a believer to be in any place and not establish or announce the sovereignty of the Kingdom.
So while you go about garnering skills, brushing up charisma, growing a business, preparing to raise children, schooling, building character and a resume, never forget to go with the Holy Spirit. In reality, Benjamin is to the Holy Spirit what the gifts Jacob parcel for the journey is to your vision board, counselling classes and resume. When Jacob finally permitted Benjamin to go with them, he parceled gifts of balm, honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts and almond (Genesis 43:11). These were “Gifts For Royalty”. He understood it was unethical to approach dignitries empty handed. And even though he had very little, he parceled that and handed it in. But more importantly, he parceled Benjamin too.
The qualifications are wonderful and are ‘gifts for royalty’. You shouldn’t meet kings empty handed. Don’t go for job interviews with a poorly drafted resume or hope to have a happy marriage with little fore knowledge and a trailer load of poor character. No. That is not scriptural. Prepare because you are to meet with the kings situated at these domains. But don’t forget your Benjamin, the son of consolation. The Holy Spirit.
It is also important to be as resolute as Judah in your pursuit and demand for the Holy Spirit. Let your pursuit for intimacy and severity be as resolute as Judah’s awareness that Benjamin was the gate pass to their next meal. Let your submission to the will of God, and the relinquishing of personal desires in a bid to remain in alignment with the Lord be as genuine as Judah’s mindfulness of Benjamin’s presence as the price tags to abundance
Life is a myriad of passageways barred with gates. At every gate, there is a keeper who reaches out his fingers, that gesture to mean, “Where is your gate pass?” There is a price to pay. Sometimes the prices are affected by events too large to discuss here, but at every point in time, you are required to pay the price before the gate will be opened. But as a believer, you are privileged. You have the one within you who can open that gate. He may choose to use your gifts to open it, or he may choose to lift up his voice in a thunderous, “Lift up your heads , O ye gates!”
But much more that lifting gates, He sustains you within the gates. Then He flows out through you to the other city dwellers within the gates. You want to make sure that you have the Master Key with you in every venture. He’s the ultimate gate pass.
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