The story is written like a movie script. A father with twelve sons. Some of them loud, some quieter, and a couple clearly favorite. Then a scheme to silence one unfolds, and before we know it he is on a ride to Egypt, his brothers waving in the rearview mirror.
Maybe it is because I have boys of my own, that I am drawn to the story of the life of Joseph. As I have been studying this incredible story, I keep coming back to the climactic ending. Joseph and his brothers were in a world of hurt. Both sides for different reasons.
I can see the ways these young men think and process. I watch as they handle disappointment, shame, and fear. God reached into Josephs’s story, in the pages of Genesis, and sounded the song of redemption, amidst what seemed a mess.
The one phrase I keep coming back to-“…the famine was severe over all the earth.” (Genesis 41:57, ESV). Famines are unkind to anyone and anything. Ever since the beginning of time, economists fear them, farmers fight them, and mother’s run from them.
They cause devastation physically and psychologically. When people’s most basic needs are threatened, fear sets in, and anxiety may become a daily battle.
The characters of Joseph’s story were not immune to any of these feelings. Plans were made to travel to Egypt where the only source of grain was to be found. There was a purpose in this long journey. Ten brothers were being sent by their father “…that we may live and not die.” (Genesis 42:2)
In our moments of crisis, when our faith is tested, there is an opportunity to pivot. This place in the road of life can be a point at which change occurs.
Something in the “taking away” causes us to reflect and focus. We choose our next steps when the good and the bad are exposed.
The famine they found themselves in was not the first famine they had been through. This particular famine messed with their food source, but their prior experience?
Well, that was a relational one.
Their sold brother was no longer part of the family. The hiding of their deceit most likely caused a divide amongst the brothers and their father. They kept that secret for a very long time.
How many times did one of them want to go and tell their father the truth? Did they share it with their wives? How did their silence impact the lives of their own children? What blessings did the miss out on during all those years?
Proverbs tells us that “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy”. (Proverbs 12:20) Sadly, joy was in short supply for these brothers.
In the middle of this God reached down and he spared everyone of them. That is grace. That is mercy. This is God’s redemption story.
Not one of the people in this drama lost their lives. More importantly, every one of them witnessed a first-hand account of the miraculous love of God when all hope seemed lost.
Where do you find yourself in this season? Are you sitting in a famine of some magnitude?
Let us not underestimate that God can use this for a positive change in our own faith story. No circumstance is ever wasted by our God. He loves us the same today as He always has.
For God alone, my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation. (Psalm 62:1)
Maybe you are with me in experiencing a season of dryness and trying to find peace. Let this be a season of change. A place where we use our famine to learn and grow. A place that we make decisions to live our lives differently and lean into the love of the only one who can save.
Even from a famine, God will bring abundance!
You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. (Genesis 50:20)
If you would like to read more of Joseph’s incredible story, you can find it Genesis 37-50. Love you!