Saturday, July 29, 2023

July 29, 2023

People are not as self-sufficient as our families were before us; we have lived off the fat of the land for a long time and are too comfortable in our ways. What will happen if the rug gets pulled from under us and the supply chain fails? Will you survive and be able to provide for your family if the shelves are empty? Jacob and his family faced the same questions and sought help in Egypt. Thankfully Joseph was in charge and stored away food as God told him to and was able to supply his family with provisions so they wouldn't die. Pharaoh allowed Jacob to settle in the best land as long as they worked and were not there to take without giving anything in return; because they were shepherds, he allowed them to stay and put them in charge of his flocks. When the famine got worse, they were still thriving. However, the Egyptians suffered and ended up having to sell Joseph everything, including themselves, just for provisions, and they all became servants of Pharaoh. Though I wish no one would suffer, this portion of scripture gave me great comfort because it shows how God provides for his people. There will be a deep chasm between those who trust the Lord and those who've ignored his call.

Can you hear the Holy Spirit pressing you to learn how to survive? Joseph didn't trust that food would magically appear. He stored it away while times were good. Consider what's happening now, push past the government indoctrination, and evaluate whether you should be storing away provisions if things get tough.

They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. Psalms 37:19

And Joseph nourished his father, and his brethren, and all his father's household, with bread, according to their families. Genesis 47:12

Friday, July 28, 2023

July 28, 2023

For the very last time, Jacob has all his belonging packed with his sons, their wives, and children, and they moved to Egypt. An old broken-hearted man can return to God in peace, knowing his son is alive and his family would not die in the famine. Jacob may have been hesitant and fearful of going into Egypt, but after he stopped in Beersheba to make a sacrifice unto God, he came to him in a dream, assuring him that he would be with him and make him a great nation. 

Upon arrival, Joseph met them and showed them the land they would settle. Joseph was so happy to see him that he wept and held him for a long time. It gave Jacob the peace he needed so he could die without worry. 

Jacob probably thought he would never leave the home he had made in Canaan, but God had a different plan. This story shows that we should never assume our plans are sure and settled because God will wreck them to keep us on his path. He has a reason for everything he does, and you can bet that the people you encounter are a part of that plan. He wants us to engage and share our knowledge of Jesus by sprinkling his love wherever we go. So when things don’t go as planned, you can bet that God will use it to his advantage, and it will turn out better than you could ever imagine. 

And he said, I am God, the God of thy father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation: I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes. Genesis 46:3-4

Thursday, July 27, 2023

July 27, 2023

Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers and sent them to gather their father and his people and bring them into Egypt so they wouldn’t starve during the famine. It was a tremendous relief to them knowing that Joseph wouldn’t cause them any more torment; though they had yet to be harmed, only their fear gripped them. The point made here is that anyone who lives a sinful lifestyle is subjected to fear because no matter what, we all know that God is real, and without Jesus, he will bring every sinner to justice. Joseph didn’t reveal himself to everyone that day, only his brothers, much like the Holy Spirit when he showed us Jesus.

The Holy Spirit shined a ray of light on the story of Joseph. He was sold as a young man into slavery and in prison for three years, but he made the best of it, so God raised him as a leader and savior of a foreign people. During the seven years of plenty, he gathered as much food as possible throughout the land. When the famine hit, Egypt’s abundance drew others that were suffering to come and eat. Most importantly, it drew in Israel, and they came to know and love the savior of Egypt because it was their brother. The whole story is a prophecy of Jesus. His own people rejected him, so he gathered those from foreign nations, which thankfully is us. We are still living in the time of plenty, but it’s easy to see that famine is coming, and that’s when Israel will be drawn in and get fed by Jesus, our modern-day Joseph. Joseph was the picture of what was to come, a living testament to the power of God. If you’re not gathering food during this time of feasting, famine will hit you hard, and you will watch as those around you either starve or come to the table of Jesus and eat. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few; we must gather now before it’s too late. 

And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:7

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

July 26, 2023

Joseph tests his brothers by hiding his cup in Benjamin’s sack of corn. Why did he do that? Was it a punishment for selling him to the Egyptians, or could it have been to see how loyal they were to Benjamin? Joseph had control of their lives; he was the one testing their loyalty to his brother. Would they leave him there in service to the one they thought was an Egyptian as they had done to him? Judah spoke up after Joseph’s men found the money and the cup in Benjamin’s bag and made a heartfelt plea for his life. They knew that their father would be heartbroken if they returned without him, yet he made a case for him without justifying what seemed like evidence against him. They passed the test as they pled for mercy on Benjamin’s behalf. This portion of the story makes me think that God wants us to speak up on behalf of our brethren who have been falsely accused; he may test our loyalty to the church by putting us in a situation where we have the choice to hide our face or step up to the plate in their defense. Pay attention and be careful how you react in certain situations, knowing God may be testing you. How fitting was it that Judah came to his defense, a grandfather in the lineage of Jesus? Because of our faith, we have Jesus defending us without justifying our actions or holding us accountable. We are truly blessed.

Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh. Genesis 44:18

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

July 25, 2023

Jacob would not send the brothers back to Egypt until they were nearly out of corn, and he protested about sending Benjamin as Joseph had requested. What gets me is that Simeon was still there! How could they leave him there knowing he was locked up? Was Simeon expendable? Another noticeable thing in this chapter is that though they had famine and no corn was growing, they still had honey, spices, nuts, and almonds. However, those things would not nourish their cattle or give them bread to go along with their meat, but they wouldn’t starve. I’ll bet they are like us Southerners and love cornbread! They returned to Egypt, taking gifts of honey, spices, and nuts, and took double the money for corn. They presented themselves and Benjamin to Joseph, and he sent them to his home to clean up and prepare for a feast he had made for them, still not revealing his identity. 

This progression shows how God works. We know how this story goes because we’ve heard it before, but they didn’t; they were frightened and feared what was coming. We may face many challenges, and fear may grip our hearts, but God is so calm about what is happening to us because he knows the outcome and is for us and not against us, much like Joseph’s brothers. They feared because of their sin but had not confessed it or asked forgiveness for what they had done, yet God used what they had done to keep them alive during the famine. They didn’t know that their actions would become a benefit but would soon find out. This story is an example of one of the times when God used for good what the devil intended for evil. Confess your sin daily so you don’t have to live in fear; then, you can live a content life knowing God is for you. It’s all about the heart. 

And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin's mess was five times so much as any of theirs. And they drank, and were merry with him. Genesis 43:34

Monday, July 24, 2023

July 24, 2023

Famine hit the land, and because of Joseph, Egypt had plenty of food. Jacob somehow found out and sent ten of his sons with money to get some for their family. That's when Joseph's dreams came true, and his brothers bowed before him. He recognized them, but he concealed his identity. He put them in a situation to make them remember their crime of selling him into slavery; they became very regretful because they understood that God was now punishing them for their sin. But they weren't being punished, although it felt like it was because of their guilt and because Joseph put them in jail for three days! He put them there to bring them into submission, not as revenge. Joseph wanted to see Benjamin, whom they had left behind, because Jacob wouldn't let him go. He concocted a plan to get them to bring him. Joseph kept Simeon and bound him before their eyes as a deposit. On their way home to get Benjamin, they discovered the Egyptians gave them back all their money, frightening them even more. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. When you feel guilty, it's hard to rejoice in the good things God does for us; that's why we must humble ourselves before Him and repent. The more I read the Old Testament, the more thankful I am for Jesus and his gift of salvation. We cannot outgive him! We commit all these crimes against him, and he forgives us and then gives us more like Joseph giving his brothers back their money.

And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us? Genesis 42:28

Sunday, July 23, 2023

July 23, 2023

After two years, the chief butler finally remembered Joseph because Pharaoh had two dreams that needed interpretation, and no one in Egypt knew the meaning. Joseph told Pharaoh the interpretation belonged to God and gave him the meaning of his dreams. Because he had two dreams that meant the same thing, it confirms that God established it and would happen. He told him there would be seven years of plenty and seven years of famine, and he needed to put someone in charge to manage what was about to happen. That’s when Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of everything; no one would be over him except Pharaoh himself. Pharaoh clothed him and fine apparel and gave him a wife. He was thirty years old at that time; God had turned his life completely around and made him forget the struggles he had getting to that point. Joseph is a prime example of how God can change your situation from struggling and despair to gladness if you keep your faith and trust in him. It was thirteen years from his capture to becoming ruler over all of Egypt! Be patient in your afflictions; God will train and release you to bring out your full potential. God has a plan for you, just like he had for Joseph. Wait for it but stay faithful in the process.

Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. Genesis 41:40