The Life of Joseph - Lesson 34, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
Genesis 47:3,4, And Pharaoh said unto his brethren, What is your occupation? And they said unto Pharaoh, Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers. They said moreover unto Pharaoh, For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen.
The five man delegation selected by Joseph now appears before the Pharaoh.
This is an affair of state, a formal occasion, a formal reception.
Appearing before the Pharaoh is never a casual affair.
Joseph has carefully selected five of his brothers to represent Israel.
As is the case of many of the reception held by the Pharaoh they are they to ask favor of the Pharaoh.
But as is the case always when God's will is concerned God has prepared the way for any favor they ask to be granted.
Preparations began long ago which now culminate in this important meeting.
God's instruments were about to conduct themselves as God had prepared them to conduct themselves.
God had placed Joseph in a position of power.
God had placed a Pharaoh in a position where he needed a Joseph. God had caused a famine in the land.
God had placed Jacob and his sons in a position where they needed the Pharaoh's help in order to survive the famine.
All parties were fulfilling God's will in order for God to fulfill his promise to Abraham and prepare a people for his name, a place for his son to make his entrance into this world.
Joseph had well prepared his brothers for this meeting. He had told them to be prepared for Pharaoh's question as to their occupation.
Joseph had desired that they emphasize the fact that they were shepherds so his selection of Goshen would be endorsed and his desire that they be separate would be fulfilled.
It is amazing how Joseph distains the riches of Egypt.
He was in a position to have his family in the court of the Pharaoh.
He could have used his position to promote every one of his brothers to high positions of power.
Any appointment Joseph desired for them would have been given.
Why did Joseph not use this opportunity to promote his own?
It is because he was a man of faith.
He was a son of Israel and he knew the word of God.
He knew the plan and purpose of God and was not about to go against that purpose.
A man of faith in the word of God will always, by his faith advance the purpose of God and carry out God's will.
The fact that he distained the riches of Egypt in itself advanced the purpose of God.
But Joseph even though he was second in command throughout the whole land of Egypt he knew he was but a stranger and a sojourner looking for a city whose builder and maker was God and he had no ambition concerning the things of Egypt.
Genesis 47:5,6, And Pharaoh spake unto Joseph, saying, Thy father and thy brethren are come unto thee: The land of Egypt is before thee; in the best of the land make thy father and brethren to dwell; in the land of Goshen let them dwell: and if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.
Here we see in as clear language as is possible the testimony of Joseph shinning forth.
How he has established himself serving the Pharaoh in these last nine years, seven of plenty and now two of famine.
Not only in years of abounding but also in years of abasing.
Both are needed to truly test your character!
The land of Egypt is before thee;
Full discretionary power is given to Joseph by the Pharaoh.
The French call what the Pharaoh gives Joseph "Cart Blanche"
A blank paper or card, (a signed blank check) a paper duly authenticated with signature and entrusted to a person to be filled up as he pleases; hence unconditional terms; unlimited power to decide
Joseph I know that you will choose wisely and not in any way cause hurt to me or the land of Egypt.
The best land is yours to do with as you please and if you please to choose Goshen then Goshen it is!
Also if "thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle."
He not only trusts in Joseph but he trusts Joseph to appoint from his family men to look over the Pharaoh's cattle.
The phrase "Men of activity" comes from the root word to twist.
The idea is that of a cord being twisted to make a strong and reliable rope.
Men of Activity means competent, men of might or strength, men who know cattle, men who can bring the Pharaoh a profit, men who will look out for his interests.
Joseph, if you have any brethren among you who have proved themselves put them over my cattle.
Jesus said it this way, "Occupy till I come"
As Joseph's brethren's place in Pharaoh's kingdom was given to those who had proved themselves so will our place in Christ's kingdom be given those who are men of activity now.
Occupy does not mean to simply take up space.
Genesis 47:7-10, And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him before Pharaoh: and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Jacob, How old art thou? And Jacob said unto Pharaoh, The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.
Picture the contrast here as Joseph brings his aged father Jacob into the court of Pharaoh.
Jacob was a dweller in tents.
His weather beaten face revealed deep lines put there by his life of shepherding.
Perhaps Joseph had given him clothes to replace his shepherds garb so he could appear before the Pharaoh.
Here the prince with God appears before the prince with men.
And who blesses whom? As Hebrews 7:7 says, the less is blessed of the better.
The Pharaoh was prince among men and had power over men but Jacob was a prince with God and had power in heaven.
This we ought to always remember when we stand before men for the fear of man bringeth a snare.
We ought to always remember that the godly pilgrim and stranger of this world is greater by far than the mighty men of earth who have their reward and then pass away.
The Pharaoh asks of Jacob one question and that question is "How old are you?"
A common question to those well advanced in years.