The Life of Joseph - Lesson 21, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
Genesis 41:53-57, And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands.
Joseph was charged with being the savior of Egypt and the surrounding lands.
The years of plenty were over.
The good days were now passing into the evil times.
Joseph had put in storage 20% of the bounty of the good years and the storehouses were overflowing.
Most likely the princes thought that this would go on forever and resented this Joseph who took such great profits from them.
Each year of the seven the Nile had done her duty to such a great extent that the harvest was beyond anyone's imagination.
There had never been such Niles as they had seen these past seven years.
but now the seven year drought had come.
Four thousand miles to the south, where the Nile had its source, the torrential rains had been shut up by God and the Nile ceased to provide the flooding waters which Egypt so sorely depended upon.
All of this was so arranged for one purpose and that purpose was to draw God's people to a place where God would prepare them for a prepared land.
And Joseph is God's instrument in this effort.
It is interesting to see where first the people of Egypt cry for deliverance from the rigors of this famine.
The people cried unto the Pharaoh for bread but the Pharaoh's answer was "Go unto Joseph, what he saith to you. do!"
At the wedding of Cana, Mary the mother of Jesus also said this as John reported in his Gospel.
John 2:5, His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
The Pharaoh had no bread to offer, only Joseph had bread for all was placed in his hands by the Pharaoh as all was placed in the hands of Jesus Christ by the Father.
The Pharaoh had relinquished all authority as regards bread to Joseph.
This reminds us of what Jesus Christ said, No man cometh unto the Father but by me.
All bread resides in Jesus Christ!
So Joseph has all bread, Jacob and Joseph's brothers need bread and this is the equation God uses to bring these brothers to repentance and to Egypt that he might make of them a great nation.
When God works he addresses all problems.
He not only provided bread to his own but he provided the circumstances necessary for repentance and reconciliation to take place and a nurturing and people building place.
This is what God does in each life.
Each life needs bread.
God has bread and he puts in each life circumstances necessary for repentance and reconciliation and a place for life building.
Jesus said "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."
Jesus Christ is the bread of life that every man needs as every man is faced with a famine of the soul.
Many try to satisfy that famine with the bread of this life but this bread will never satisfy.
The Pharaoh said to his people: Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do.
And they did and they received bread.
Mary said to:... the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
And we do and we receive the bread of life!
Genesis 42:1-6, Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die. And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him. And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan. And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.
In this chapter the scene changes to Canaan where we see that the famine has also spread to include Joseph's family for we know that God's plan requires that Jacob be affected.
Jacob is to make decisions that will bring his family into the presence of Joseph in fulfillment of Joseph's dreams.
At the time of this passage Joseph had been away from his family in Canaan almost 22 years.
Benjamin was now in his twenties but Benjamin was the only remaining son of Rachel as far as Jacob knew.
He had long ago reconciled himself to the supposed death of his son, Joseph.
Jacob's question to his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? reveals to us Jacob's frustration with his sons' inactivity.
Apparently they were waiting on someone else to solve the food problem.
Looking at one another is not going to get any food on the table.
Looking at one another is not going to reveal the leader.
Perhaps Jacob had heard the corn was to be had in Egypt from the caravans that passed close by or perhaps he saw his neighbors come home with wagon loads of corn.
Why did he have to suggest it to his sons?
Why do ye look one upon another?
It is obvious that we must go to Egypt to get corn.
Quit standing around and get going!
But no way was he going to let his only remaining son of Rachel go with them.
Benjamin was staying close by him while his 10 sons went to buy grain.
You wonder how this protectionism of Benjamin affected his life.
Jacob had lost one son and he was not going to allow Benjamin to engage in anything where there was risk.
The first dream of Joseph, dreamed 22 years ago, was about to be fulfilled.
Genesis 37:7, For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.
And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.
The brothers were fulfilling Joseph's dream and they did not even know it.
But this humble act was required before acceptance would take place.
It is interesting to see that Joseph was involved on a daily basis in the selling of the grain to all the people of the land.
Most likely Joseph was in his place of duty day after day and it was therefore natural that he would be there on the day his brothers arrived from Canaan.