Joseph’s plan to settle his family in Goshen, on the border of Egypt – just as close to their homeland of Canaan as he can get them – works like a charm, and Pharaoh gives Joseph’s family his blessing, and Jacob blesses Pharaoh – twice – in return. Have you ever had a friend who just refuses to believe in God or Jesus on principle alone? For instance, we have a friend who is a professed atheist, just doesn’t want anything to do with Christianity. Yet, every time we are around him, he just can’t ask enough questions about our faith. I feel like he KNOWS already there is something bigger than the Big Bang, but he is so set in his ways that he just refuses to open up and accept Jesus as-is. He accepts others who accept Jesus, but he just won’t take the step to do it himself. To me, this is Pharaoh (and maybe Abimelech from previous stories?). He’s one of those guys you just want to tell, “Look, I know you know there’s something deeper here. All you have to do is say, ‘I want to know Jesus’ or ‘I want to understand Jesus,’ or even ‘God! I want to believe, so show me how to do that!’” I would like to say this to our friend, but I haven’t. I’m not a great evangelist, and admittedly, I’ve missed numerous opportunities to introduce people to Jesus and the freedom he brings. One reason for that is because it’s taken me many years to understand how to recommend a life full of Jesus and back it with a solid testimony. I can do it now, but trust me, it didn’t just ding, ding, ding dawn on me one morning how to explain Jesus in a way people would actually want to know him. I had to pray how to do this! And if you’re struggling with the same issues, I suggest you do the same. God hears and answers our prayers. Pharaoh knew this. He just didn’t have the courage to take the next big step.
Anyway, I got off on a bit of a tangent there. I wanted to highlight the fact that Pharaoh accepted a blessing from Jacob, and he left the priests’ lands alone when the famine hit hard. That speaks volumes for this Pharaoh. It’s ironic, though, isn’t it, that Joseph ultimately is responsible for his family and ancestors living in captivity as slaves. 😬 From this chapter, however, we can see that the move was meant to help the people, and for that they were thankful! If you substitute the word “slave” with “government worker,” you can see the makings of a first government land deal. It’s no secret that US farmers depend on government lands and government funds to keep their crops going. This procedure essentially is what Joseph proposed and succeeded to implement, but as with any government programs, things can go awry with the wrong government in place. Joseph and the Pharaoh during his time were fair and honest men who cared about their own people, and even though Joseph’s family was given a bit of the royal treatment, Joseph still treated them as equals to all the people in his kingdom. Verse 12 says Joseph provided food for his family “in amounts appropriate” to the number of their children, etc. Joseph is a good example of an honest politician. Oxymoron, right? Just think if our leaders followed Joseph’s example and chose fairness, transparency and honesty at all times. I believe some of them do. I met a lot of council men and women, representatives, senators and all kinds of politicians while working as a reporter. Some of them understood their roles as a representative for the people and everything that entailed, but some of them were just there to put on a show and throw around their weight because they felt like they’d won some popularity contest or something. Being given the responsibility to act and speak on the behalf of thousands of people is no game. Joseph understood that, and this Pharaoh understood that, too. Let’s be thankful for modern leaders like Joseph and the Pharaoh who ruled during his time and pray for those now who rule like the Pharaoh who viewed the Israelites as nothing but mere slaves.
Writing prompt: prayer
Our government leaders have a lot to handle these days! Write out a prayer for leaders around the world to represent their people as Joseph and Pharaoh did. Let the Holy Spirit guide you to the leaders for whom you should pray and write today.