Sunday, July 21, 2013

Genesis 47

Today's reading in our daily plan is Genesis 47. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)

  • Joseph's brothers and father meet Pharaoh and he gives them the best part of the land to live in.  Such an action demonstrates how much Pharaoh favored Joseph.  
  • The effects of the famine become much more severe.  The people run out of money and animals to trade for food, so they sell their land to Pharaoh and enter into servitude.  
  • Joseph promises his father he will bury him in his homeland rather than Egypt when he dies.  

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)

  • There is dignity in work.  At first glance it seems that Joseph is being cruel by having the people of Egypt sell themselves into slavery in exchange for food.  But to give something for nothing would have robbed the Egyptians of their dignity.  So this allowed the people to keep their sense of pride.  And by having the people work in this way, it helped them survive the famine.   Look at what Joseph did.  He gave them dignity in their work.  He did give them something - seed to plant in the ground.  He allowed them to keep 4/5 of what they earned.  And if they worked diligently they would be able to buy back their land.  Two things demonstrate the wisdom of how Joseph handled this entire situation.  One, the people's response, "You have saved our lives" (verse 25).  Second, history tells us that prior to the famine, Egypt was a third rate country. After the famine, it was a strong and powerful nation.  Egypt owed it's rise to the power and wisdom of a Godly man named Joseph.
  • Remember where home is.  Death was approaching for Jacob and he expressed his desire to be buried at home, not in a foreign land.  

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)

  • Do you hold a position of power over people?  How do you handle it?  Do you take advantage of people working under you or do you make sure they are provided for?  Learn from Joseph's example.  Pay attention to those you lead.  Care for them.  Be good stewards of all that God has entrusted you with.  
  • Ever feel unhappy or dissatisfied on earth?  While we have moments of joy and glimpses of light and seasons of peace, they don't compare with the joy that lies ahead for followers of Jesus.  Let the difficulties you face on this earth create a hunger for heaven, our true home.  Philippians 3:20 says, "But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ..."