Thursday 7th April 2016
Thursday word from Genesis
'There was no food, however, in the whole region because the famine was severe; both Egypt and Canaan wasted away because of the famine.' Genesis 47:13
Having settled his family in Goshen, Joseph got back to the task of managing the famine which the whole region was enduring. Things were getting worse,(v13). Joseph was kept busy selling grain to both Egyptians and Canaanites and presenting the money to Pharaoh. Eventually, the peoples' money was gone and with the fear of imminent starvation, Joseph had the people bring their livestock in exchange for food. A year later, (v 17), they had no livestock left, so the people offered their land and themselves to Joseph in exchange for food, (v 18,19). Pharaoh now owned all the livestock, the land and the people themselves. They were now in bondage to Pharaoh. (v 23).
The people were reduced to servitude, (or relocated to cities according to Samaritan Pentateuch, Septuagint and other sources), (v 21). As little would grow and farmers couldn't farm, the loss of land probably didn't seem a great loss and, if Joseph did relocate the people into cities, they were probably nearer to the food distribution centres/barns. There was no complaint from the people, only praise that Pharaoh/Joseph had saved their lives(v 25). They were happy to be Pharaoh's bond-servants, reliant on him for their welfare and sustenance. The mindset and culture then was very different to that of the 21st Century. What would be our view, I wonder, if such a thing happened today?
I also wonder, had the ordinary farmers of Egypt done the same as Joseph did for Pharaoh during those 7 years of plenty, would they have been in the dire straits they now found themselves in?
Finally, Joseph put in place a law whereby Pharaoh would give seed for the people to sow in exchange for receiving one fifth of the crop produced, once the famine was over. The four fifths left could be kept as seed for their fields and food for their families, (v26).
Through Joseph, Pharaoh saved the people, and such was their gratitude that they were happy to be his bond-servants/slaves, totally reliant and dependent on him. So too with us; aware of the enormity of what God through Jesus did to save us, we should be more than happy to be God's bond-servants/slaves, totally reliant and dependent on him, recognising him to be the real owner of all we are and all we possess. The only difference is that in willingly accepting this position, the Lord promotes us and no longer calls us servants, but friends, (John 15:14). What a wonderful Saviour he is.
God bless you all.