Joseph in Charge


Genesis 41:41-57
41And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”
42Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck.
43And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt.
44Moreover, Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no one shall lift up hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.”
45And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphenath-paneah. And he gave him in marriage Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On. So Joseph went out over the land of Egypt.
46Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt.
47During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly,
48and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it.
49And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured.
50Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him.
51Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.”
52The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
53The seven years of plenty that occurred in the land of Egypt came to an end,
54and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread.
55When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.”
56So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt.
57Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.

Thirteen years after Joseph was sold as a 17 year old slave into Egypt the story finally turns around. After serving with excellence both in the house of Potiphar and in the prison of Pharaoh, Joseph is made second only to Pharaoh as ruler of Egypt. That kind of story is possible only with of the hand of God. Because of Joseph’s walk with the Living God and the gift that God gave him to interpret dreams the entire region will be saved from starvation.

What intrigues me at this point in the story is that nowhere do we see that Joseph understands that there is a bigger plot at work here. He is simply being faithful in the moment with the information he has been given. He sees what the next 14 years will bring in terms of harvest and resource management. With that information in hand, he moves forward with what appear to be some pretty impressive administrative skills. Joseph has no idea that God has an even larger plan in the works and he doesn’t need to know that. All he needs to do is be faithful with what he has in his hands. God owes him no explanations as to what is coming or why it is important. Joseph acts on the information that he has from God. Seven good years are coming; make use of them and save for the seven bad years that will follow. That’s what he knows, so that’s what he acts upon. Quite often we try to speculate about what’s coming in the future and try to make plans accordingly. This action can cause us to drop what we have been given by God in that moment thus making us less than faithful stewards of what we have been called to do. Because of Joseph’s obedience, millions of lives are saved. Had he been less than faithful, disaster would have followed.

Today I ask myself what I have been given to do for today. What resources and tasks do I have in my hands that need my attention for they constitute my calling from God? It might be easier to speculate about tomorrow and waste my time and resources making plans for things that will never happen or which I cannot control. That clearly was not what Joseph chose and millions of people got to eat because of it. Where might God be asking you to go to work today, using what He has given to accomplish His will in your life and maybe the lives of others? Always an interesting question to ponder.

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