Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thursday January 14: Genesis 41 - 42 ~ Cameron

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Genesis 41 - 42

Greetings! My name is Cameron Funk. When Tammy asked if Jeannine and I would join the team I thought it would be good to read through the bible in a "group" setting. After sitting here and staring at a blank screen, I am not as excited. I pray that this blog will help people in their own study of the Bible.

Today I want to look at two aspects of Joseph's life. His leadership and his family life.

Joseph remained imprisoned for two years AFTER the cupbearer was released. He is then whisked out of his cell, given a bath and shave, and stands before Pharaoh himself!

God unveils the meaning of the dreams and Joseph explains things to Pharaoh. Joseph then shifts into solution mode and presents a plan to survive the famine. He was still a prisoner at this time. He held no formal position that would allow him to speak his mind. He didn't owe Egypt anything. He could have provided the interpretation and waited for Pharaoh's court to address the issue. Instead, he took advantage of the opportunity and provided wise counsel. In the span of a day, Joseph went from the outhouse to the penthouse and was promoted above all but Pharaoh.

As an aside, I found Joseph's plan interesting. He could have suggested a seventh or a sixth of the produce to be stored up for the seven years of famine. A seventh portion would have been enough, especially when rationed with the foreknowledge of a coming famine. A sixth portion would have ensured more than enough produce was stored. But by storing a fifth of all produce, Egypt had the opportunity to become very wealthy.

In the end and with more than enough resources, we read that people from other nations were coming to Egypt and purchase food. Historically, this led to a stabilization of the 12th dynasty in Egypt's Middle Kingdom and the start of Israel's time in Egypt. The hardship of famine became the gateway to prosperity.

A great leader in the history of Egypt.

Yet like so many of us, family can bring out the worst in our personalities. Joseph's brothers arrive and instead of greeting them he decides to mess with them for a time. He speaks harshly to them, throws them in prison for three days, then demands they return with Benjamin before they can do further business in the land. To further torment his brothers, Joseph hides the money in their food stuffs as they return to Israel. We see the brothers lamenting their wrong doings but Joseph is set on extracting some level of revenge upon them and he sends them home without declaring who he really was.

How often do we focus on our work, honing our skills to be used in the workplace, only to neglect applying the same principles to our own families?

There are many good things to emulate in Joseph's life but his inability or unwillingness to apply the same wisdom that helped a nation thrive to dealing with his own family is not one of them.

  Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage: Genesis 43 - 45


Nathan Reimer said...

Good blog, I think in a selfish way that it would have been a lot of fun being Joseph and messing with his brothers. They had been responsible in a lot of ways for putting Joseph through someone terrible things, like being sold to foreigners and taken away then ending up in prison. I've always enjoyed reading this storey, because it ends good. The relationship between Joseph and his family is restored later and God is honoured.

A verse that stood out to me is found in chapter 41:16 "And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me; God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace."

Joseph says before he even starts interpreting that it is God who will give him the wisdom to help Pharaoh. A good reminder for us to make a point in giving God the credit for the help He gives us, both in prayer and verbally to others around us.

Conrad said...

Thanks for your post Cam, your point on bringing the same value and principles towards family can be tough sometimes, but should not be neglected.

The same verse stood out for me as it did with Nathan. It is crucial for us to recognize that it is God who provides us everything. Whether it's possessions, gifts, talents, or in Joseph's case wisdom, it all comes from God. I also like your point Nathan that we should also publicly indicate to others where this comes from.

Conrad said...

I had never really thought about the logic behind saving 1/5 of the crops. Egypt did acquire great wealth during the time of the famine because hungry people are desperate people. It makes you wonder if they kept the news about the famine coming a secret so that their wealth would increase even more than if others would know as well??

TammyIsBlessed said...

I love that Joseph did not hesitate to clearly give God the glory for the dream interpretation.

I can only imagine the shock that must have gone throughout the Egyptian empire to hear of a prisoner rising to the ranks of 2nd in command in one day!

It's interesting to note that Joseph was 17 when he was sold into slavery, and 30 when he started serving Pharoah - he was a slave or a prisoner for 13 years! That's a long time to wait to see God's hand at work.

danae said...

I've always read these chapters thinking that now Joseph had "arrived". He was right with God & was being blessed for it. And yet, it's during this time that he allows his human nature to slip in & gain some control & treats his brothers cruelly. What a great reminder that we are never at a place in our walk with God or so secure in it that we can't slip (we are human after all). We need to continually focus on him, not feel that we've "arrived" but that we are still on our way.

TammyIsBlessed said...

I found this sermon interesting, and he had a much different take on Joseph's treatment of his brothers - and it does, to me, seem consistent with the rest of what we know about Joseph's character.