This is a weekly guest devotion written by my mother, Estelene. Each week she shares with us scripture and a short devotion to encourage us.
We are in the sixth week of our series on the life of Joseph– a young boy despised by his brothers– who was sold into slavery. Each week the story gets almost unbelievable yet more exciting. This young boy was sent by his father to see how his brothers were doing while they were caring for their flocks in a land away from home, and he never returned. Oh how the father grieved when he looked upon the shredded, blood-filled coat he had made for his son, and accepting the worst; his son’s life had been gruesomely snatched out of his hands by a wild animal.
You can feel his pain, and you want to comfort him by saying, “Stop grieving. Your son is alive, and he is doing well!” But you can’t.
God knew his pain, and he felt his pain. You see God’s son experienced a gruesome death. But I have good news. You must not grieve for He is alive, and he is doing well. He sits at the right hand of his father.
In today’s lesson we read about a period of time when the world, as it was known, experienced a seven-year famine. Egypt experienced seven years of an abundance of crops (the good times) followed by seven years of great famine (the bad times).
How would you react if our world today were to go through a seven year famine? Throughout life we experience the good times and the bad times. But how we react in both situations shows in whom we put our trust. Joseph is our example we should follow.
So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and men shouted before him, “Make way!” Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt.
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Zaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.
Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from Pharaoh’s presence and traveled throughout Egypt. During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.
Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” The second son he named Ephraim and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”
The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food. When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.”
When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. And all the countries came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the world. Genesis 41:41-57
Keep in mind Joseph was seventeen years old when he was sold into slavery. After spending thirteen years in slavery and in prison he found himself placed second in command of all Egypt. And the only thing he had done was interpret Pharaoh’s dream and give him words of wisdom.
Pharaoh trusted Joseph enough to place on Joseph’s finger his signet ring to wear. He was given the daughter of a priest to take as his wife. People of Joseph’s kind were looked down upon by the Egyptians; therefore, Pharaoh, more than likely, gave Joseph an Egyptian name so the people of the land would accept him. Can you image this nomadic shepherd now riding in a chariot with men shouting, “Make way!” My Life Application Study Bible interprets that phrase to mean “Bow down!”
Pharaoh announced that no one was to do anything without Joseph’s permission. Joseph could have been stricken with much pride, but he had a heart for God. He knew that it was God who had placed him in this prominent position; it was God at work fulfilling his promise.
Joseph immediately went to work traveling throughout the land of Egypt storing grain in preparation for the upcoming famine. In those days it didn’t take much to destroy a crop, yet we see that God provided bountiful crops for seven years.
Everything happened just as Joseph had interpreted or should I say as God had revealed through Pharaoh’s dreams. After seven years, a great famine moved through the world. No one was prepared for this catastrophe except for Egypt. Other parts of the world felt the effects of the famine before Egypt.
Why did God cause the famine in the first place, if he was going to place a plan in the mind of Joseph to provide enough food during the famine? Hmmmmmmm. I don’t know the exact reason nor do I know the mind of God, but I do know that his mighty powers and his control over all the earth became known to the king of Egypt and many others.
Have you ever wondered why God insisted on making you go through trials or take the long road around a barrier in life when he could have let you take a short cut? Maybe he is trying to teach you something. Maybe he is molding you and shaping you into the person he can use for his ministry and for his glory. I do know that sometimes what others mean for evil, God uses for good. Now let’s go back to our lesson for today.
Once the people’s supply of food was exhausted, Joseph opened up the storehouses and sold food to them. People all over the world came to Egypt to buy food.
I wonder who from another country will make their way to Egypt. Join me next week. The story is slowing unfolding, so don’t miss it.