Sometimes I have the best ideas. Like a few months ago when I told the kids it was National Cleaning Day so we had no choice but to wash windows and baseboards and bedding and every toy they own. Brilliant I tell you! Until they asked my mom if she too had participated in National Cleaning Day. (I’m sorry, what did you say?)
Devotional Scripture: Genesis 41:37- 42:38
Key Verse: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
Then there’s the bad ideas. The really really bad ideas. Like the time I decided to dye my hair black (with permanent hair dye mind you). And then wept uncontrollably the next morning because what on earth had I just done! Clearly there was a reason God did not give me black hair!
Or the time I had shin splints in college and decided I would be responsible and get ice packs and ice them with absolutely no protection WHATSOEVER on my skin. I pushed through the burning sensation for um well much longer than I care to admit. But long enough to give myself burn marks that looked like a map of the Galapagos Islands, on both legs, and didn’t go away for several years. Yes, years. Go ahead and google “map of Galapagos Islands”. I know you want to.
But Joseph didn’t have bad ideas (at least not that we know of). Just really good ones. Seven years of famine – no worries Pharaoh. Just hire a man to gather and store up grain during the seven abundant years so Egypt can still thrive during the seven bad years. Brilliant! “Joseph, you’re hired!”
Can you even imagine? One minute he was serving up mash to his fellow prison mates (at least that’s what I imagine him doing) and the next he’s being served an endless array of any and every delicacy the eye had ever seen as second in command of Egypt. (Up from the grave he arose right?)
Clothed in fine linen, with a gold chain about his neck, and Pharaoh’s signet ring on his finger, they put Joseph in a chariot and took him for a ride. “Bow the knee!” They called out before him. I wonder if there was confusion. “Hey, anyone know who the new guy is?”
“Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (v. 46) to begin the ministry God had set before him. And not so ironically Jesus was also thirty when he began his. Then Pharaoh gave Joseph a gentile wife. Another not so ironic coincidence considering Joseph is a picture of Jesus and we the church, Christ’s bride, are gentiles.
As head honcho or governor Joseph got right to work storing “up grain in great abundance…until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured” (v.49). It was vast and abundant! As are the “immeasurable riches” of God’s grace (Eph. 2:7) and the “unsearchable riches of Christ (Eph 3:8).
A good thing since “all the earth” sought grain from Joseph. Or at least the world well beyond Egypt’s borders. Hence he was a savior to the whole world because he alone could give them life. I think you know what’s coming. Acts 4:12 says of Jesus “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Only Jesus can give us life. And he gives it to “all who call on him” (Rom. 10:12). Just as Joseph gave food to anyone who came to him.
As the famine spread and people far and wide showed up, Joseph must have anticipated his family’s arrival. Pretty sure I would have been wholesaling tums had I been in his shoes. What will it be like to see them again? Will they recognize me? How will they react? Have they changed? Will they still hate me?
Then one day they showed up. Well ten of them anyway because Jacob would not dare part with Benjamin. Did they ask around as to what to do? Or did they know it was the governor they had to seek? Had to approach. Had to ask for food to feed their families.
No matter, they went. Best decision they ever made and “bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground.” The very fulfillment of Joseph’s dream.
Yet they didn’t recognize him, though Joseph knew exactly who they were (I think we could easily draw another Jesus parallel here.) Joseph tested his brothers by speaking harshly to them and putting them in jail for three days. Then he told them they could all go home except for one. Didn’t matter who but someone needed to stay until they returned with Benjamin to prove they weren’t really spies (another brilliant idea).
Somehow Simeon was chosen. When the boys got home and told Jacob all that had occurred, he was adamant Benjamin would be going nowhere! “Bad idea boys! Not gonna happen.” But their enthusiasm to return was hindered when they discovered “every man’s bundle of money was in his sack” (42:35). Obviously the governor would assume they stole it!
But there was absolutely no way Joseph was going to let his brothers pay. He just couldn’t. It was a gift. Because salvation cannot be bought. Nor can it be earned. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
We can’t buy it my friend. He won’t let us. Salvation is God’s gift to any and all willing to receive it. Willing to come to him. Willing to take and eat of the bread of life. It’s the best decision you’ll ever make – to go to Jesus. To seek him and the bread he offers. Because only He can save you. Only He can give you life.
Contemplate and Evaluate
Have you gone to Jesus to receive the bread of life? Or have you tried to buy it? Tried to earn it? Tried to gain it from somewhere else?
What evidence of His presence do you see in your life?
What new insights have you gained regarding the similarities between Joseph and Jesus? How has it encouraged your faith?
(Photo credit: Pixabay)