Genesis – First, God
God’s Word always brings light to our souls. His words to us, through the lives of those who lived before us long ago, reminds us that bad times come and go, but God is still sovereign and will bring peace in the chaos with wisdom to get through challenging times such as wars, famine and even a plague called corona virus.
As we read how Joseph settled his family in the land of Goshen, (as well as giving them jobs to oversee the ruler’s livestock), we see God’s wisdom, insight and understanding pouring from him. We read how the Egyptian people panic as the famine becomes so bad no one can sustain a living. Joseph does not panic but creates a way out of the situation.
Joseph is so close to God that God’s wisdom becomes a part of his thinking and leadership. The people did not go hungry. Ultimate crisis averted. God made a way where there seemed to be no way.
Are we close enough to God, to hear what HE has to say to us and to the rest of the panicked world today?
In our challenging times of “social distancing”, empty store shelves, with panic stricken people hoarding the supplies, are we listening to God who knows the way through it and knows how this will end?
Are we remembering Who He is?
OR are we still clinging to self care, self as an idol of worship, self satisfaction, self survival which leads to selfishness? Self is mankind’s original sin. Evil uses our weakness of self to promote his lies that are constantly fed to a weakened people without reliance and trust on God the Creator. In the garden of Eden, evil uses deceptive lies from the beginning to change our thinking from God to man, “Did God really say that?” Check it out the whole story in Genesis 3.
Evil is having a heyday with our emotions during this unprecedented season of challenging world circumstances. He is planting questionable thoughts…”Did God really say He would take care of us?”
Here is some help from the prophet Isaiah (46) given by God to this prophet when God’s people forgot all about Him and went their own ways, while worship every THING, including self, instead of worshiping Him.
“Both the idols and their owners are bowed down.
The gods cannot protect the people,
and the people cannot protect the gods.
They go off into captivity together.”
“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob,
all you who remain in Israel.
I have cared for you since you were born.
Yes, I carried you before you were born.
I will be your God throughout your lifetime—
until your hair is white with age.
I made you, and I will care for you.
I will carry you along and save you.”
Could this kind of thinking be in the mind of Joseph as he walks with God? Could his confidence in leading be because He knows God will take care of them and save them? I would say yes! God is the author of Joseph’s wisdom. God guides Joseph’s thought life as he leads people through the famine panic.
Genesis 47, The Message
Joseph went to Pharaoh and told him, “My father and brothers with their flocks and herds and everything they own have come from Canaan. Right now they are in Goshen.”
2-3 He had taken five of his brothers with him and introduced them to Pharaoh. Pharaoh asked them, “What kind of work do you do?”
3-4 “Your servants are shepherds, the same as our fathers were. We have come to this country to find a new place to live. There is no pasture for our flocks in Canaan. The famine has been very bad there. Please, would you let your servants settle in the region of Goshen?”
5-6 Pharaoh looked at Joseph. “So, your father and brothers have arrived—a reunion! Egypt welcomes them. Settle your father and brothers on the choicest land—yes, give them Goshen. And if you know any among them that are especially good at their work, put them in charge of my own livestock.”
7-8 Next Joseph brought his father Jacob in and introduced him to Pharaoh. Jacob blessed Pharaoh. Pharaoh asked Jacob, “How old are you?”
9-10 Jacob answered Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are 130—a short and hard life and not nearly as long as my ancestors were given.” Then Jacob blessed Pharaoh and left.
11-12 Joseph settled his father and brothers in Egypt, made them proud owners of choice land—it was the region of Rameses (that is, Goshen)—just as Pharaoh had ordered. Joseph took good care of them—his father and brothers and all his father’s family, right down to the smallest baby. He made sure they had plenty of everything.
13-15 The time eventually came when there was no food anywhere. The famine was very bad. Egypt and Canaan alike were devastated by the famine. Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan to pay for the distribution of food. He banked the money in Pharaoh’s palace. When the money from Egypt and Canaan had run out, the Egyptians came to Joseph. “Food! Give us food! Are you going to watch us die right in front of you? The money is all gone.”
16-17 Joseph said, “Bring your livestock. I’ll trade you food for livestock since your money’s run out.” So they brought Joseph their livestock. He traded them food for their horses, sheep, cattle, and donkeys. He got them through that year in exchange for all their livestock.
18-19 When that year was over, the next year rolled around and they were back, saying, “Master, it’s no secret to you that we’re broke: our money’s gone and we’ve traded you all our livestock. We’ve nothing left to barter with but our bodies and our farms. What use are our bodies and our land if we stand here and starve to death right in front of you? Trade us food for our bodies and our land. We’ll be slaves to Pharaoh and give up our land—all we ask is seed for survival, just enough to live on and keep the farms alive.”
20-21 So Joseph bought up all the farms in Egypt for Pharaoh. Every Egyptian sold his land—the famine was that bad. That’s how Pharaoh ended up owning all the land and the people ended up slaves; Joseph reduced the people to slavery from one end of Egypt to the other.
22 Joseph made an exception for the priests. He didn’t buy their land because they received a fixed salary from Pharaoh and were able to live off of that salary. So they didn’t need to sell their land.
23-24 Joseph then announced to the people: “Here’s how things stand: I’ve bought you and your land for Pharaoh. In exchange I’m giving you seed so you can plant the ground. When the crops are harvested, you must give a fifth to Pharaoh and keep four-fifths for yourselves, for seed for yourselves and your families—you’re going to be able to feed your children!”
25 They said, “You’ve saved our lives! Master, we’re grateful and glad to be slaves to Pharaoh.”
26 Joseph decreed a land law in Egypt that is still in effect, A Fifth Goes to Pharaoh. Only the priests’ lands were not owned by Pharaoh.
27-28 And so Israel settled down in Egypt in the region of Goshen. They acquired property and flourished. They became a large company of people. Jacob lived in Egypt for seventeen years. In all, he lived 147 years.
29-30 When the time came for Israel to die, he called his son Joseph and said, “Do me this favor. Put your hand under my thigh, a sign that you’re loyal and true to me to the end. Don’t bury me in Egypt. When I lie down with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me alongside them.”
“I will,” he said. “I’ll do what you’ve asked.”
31 Israel said, “Promise me.” Joseph promised.
Israel bowed his head in submission and gratitude from his bed.
Jacob had enjoyed Joseph for seventeen years in Hebron (37:2), and now he would enjoy Joseph and his sons for seventeen years in Egypt (47:28). It was tragic that the sins of his sons had robbed their father of twenty-two years of Joseph’s life, but even in this sacrifice, God had beautifully worked out His plan and cared lovingly for His people.
Jacob was one of God’s pilgrims, and he wanted to be buried with his family in the land that would one day be home for his descendants.
Jacob’s desire was that his funeral would be a clear witness that he was not an idol-worshiping Egyptian but a believer in the true and living God.
When we stop to think that our funeral and burial are the last public testimonies we will ever give, it makes us want to plan carefully. Making our last will and testament is important, but don’t neglect our last witness and testimony. That is more important than flowers and weeping, expensive caskets and “arrangements”. Live life for God to the full. When we leave earth for heaven, I pray we hear, “Well Done” from God along with, “You never forgot Me. I never forgot you.”
Dear Father and Lord,
Thank you for your words of assurance as we face times that are changing our normal way of life as the world sees “normal”. We will continue to trust in you for you are with us no matter what. Thank you. Help us to think more about what we can do to help others through this than thinking about our own survival. Give us wisdom, insight and understanding. May your glory be seen through this sickness and all that goes with it. May the world’s memory of who you are bring the world to you. May we who know you never forget, YOU are God and we are not.
In Jesus Name, Amen