Read His Words Before Ours!
The courtyard stones beneath my feet still held the coolness of night. Dawn had broken though, and by midday, the stones would be radiating the sun’s heat. It would be a miserable, sweaty day for all waiting in line for grain.
Still, very few complained about standing in the scorching sun, not when I held their sustenance in my control. The Lord had given Pharaoh dreams foretelling seven years of abundance, followed by seven years of famine. Since the Lord worked through me to interpret those dreams, Pharaoh made me second in command and ruler over the land. (Genesis 41)
I stockpiled during those seven years of abundance, believing the Lord’s word that the years of famine would come.
And come they did.
Now all those in Egypt and surrounding areas come to us, willing to pay for grain to survive. Years of famine still loom before us, but our storehouses are full.
I motion for the gates to be opened. Those who’ve already lined the stone streets stream in, and I watch the expressions on their faces. The famine years have not been kind; weathered faces and heavy countenances greet me as far as I can see.
A face just beyond the gate catches my eye. Something about him made me think of my brothers. Strange that they would come to mind. I glanced again toward the gate, but the face had disappeared.
Focus, Joseph. You’re in charge here. No time to dwell on the past.
I settle my mind on the business before me as the day’s grain sales begin.
A little while later, a laugh catches my attention. I’m not surprised; often, the swell of laughter increases as people draw closer to their chance to purchase grain and discover abundant supply. Hope seems to bubble up within them and escape as joy.
But this laugh draws my focus because it was the same I’d heard in my youth.
I look down the line and catch sight of the face I’d seen before.
My brother. He is here. And he is not alone.
I quickly count nine others with him. All my brothers but Benjamin. Within moments they would be standing before me. Would they recognize me?
I draw my royal cloak around me and whisper for those fanning me to stand so my face is obscured.
“Where do you come from?” I ask, with far more venom in my voice than I intended. Years of betrayal and bitterness surge within me, even though I’d worked to surrender those emotions. The Lord knew I’d had plenty of time to do so in the many years since I’d seen my brothers’ faces.
When my brothers reply they’ve come from Canaan to buy food, my dreams from years ago play in my mind’s eye. My brothers bowing before me. Could this be the moment foretold all those years ago?
“You are spies. You have come to seek the weakness of the land.”
This accusation gives me the upper hand and before they know it, I orchestrate a scenario to have Benjamin brought to me. My brothers begin to talk amongst themselves, not realizing I can understand their native tongue. I stand, stepping aside to where I am completely hidden by servants, and weep.
Turning back, I direct one of them to stay in Egypt in my custody until the rest return with their youngest brother. With their families on the brink of starvation, they can’t refuse. Simeon is bound and their sacks of grain are prepared. I give orders for their money to be returned in their bags as well.
I send them off and await their return. My dreams promised I would see all of my brothers and I trust the Lord would fulfill His word.
Until I see my baby brother standing before me, I wait, pray, and portion out the grain entrusted to me. It had taken the lure of grain, deep in the midst of the famine, to bring my brothers to Egypt. Hopefully their return would not be delayed.
Ananias: While Joseph’s first-person perspective does not highlight the words of his father, Israel, telling his brothers not to wait for their rescue, Genesis 42:2 captures Israel’s admonition to his sons, “‘Why do you keep looking at each other? Listen,’ he went on, ‘I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so we will live and not die.’”
First-century Christian Ananias had a similar encouragement for newly-converted apostle Saul,
“And now, why are you delaying? Get up and be baptized, washing away your sins, calling on [Christ’s] name.” (Acts 22:16)
Ananias’ exhortation is for us, as well! Are we delaying asking the Lord for His forgiveness, our rescue from the eternal consequences of our sin? (Colossians 1:13-14) Ananias challenged Saul to embrace God’s rescue, a courageous recommendation, as Saul was a former persecutor of Christians.
Disciples: Tossed amid furious waves in a raft, Jesus’ disciples experienced significant fear in seeking rescue. (Mark 4:35-40) Mark relates how the Lord calmed the storm and asked the disciples why they were afraid when Jesus was physically in their midst. Similarly, Israel called out fear in his sons as they kept looking at each other, each hoping another would volunteer to leave the comfort of their current dwelling to acquire desperately-needed food.
If God is with us, whom or what shall we fear?
Friends, what are we waiting for?
Our Rescuer is here!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!