Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 22

This entry is part 22 of 39 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap Part 21: Joseph is the head guy in Egypt; only below Pharaoh. He revealed Pharaoh’s dream to him and was elevated to a place of honor because of it. He is age 30 at this time. A life free from prison must seem like a dream to him.

Part 22

Joseph began his task of preparing during the seven years of plenty for the eventual seven years of famine. “And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number” (Genesis 41:47-49).

“And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do” (vs. 53-55). Joseph made Pharaoh very wealthy and people from all lands came to Joseph for survival. As we will see, his brothers had to come to him for help, eventually.

What emotional turmoil did Joseph have to deal with and overcome when he was reunited with his brothers? How much did he suffer being away from his father for so many years? When he learns that his father believes him to be dead, how do you think that makes him feel? Should he feel anger towards his brothers? Betrayal? Love? I am sure he went through all of these feelings and many more.

“And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan. And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth. And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him” (Genesis 42:5-8).

Joseph played a few tricks on his brothers and they were very afraid of him. He blessed them each time he saw them and gave them plenty of provisions for their families. After fooling them several times, however, he could not take it anymore and made himself known to them. I am sure this was a wonderful moment for each present. “Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried…Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he wept aloud… And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt” (Genesis 45:1-4).

Knowing that you had failed your own brother in so many ways how would you feel? These men hated him, were jealous, betrayed him, told their father he was dead and forgot about him. How do you suppose you might act if you were in the same situation? If you were standing before the man who had power to help or harm you, how might you respond? My brothers and sisters in Christ this is a picture of us, now, in our relationship with Christ. He has done more for us than we can even comprehend and how do we repay him? How do we respond to his love? Do you turn to Christ for all your needs or do you treat him like Joseph’s brothers treated Joseph? “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7). What did Joseph know?

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