What does it say?
Having gained a reputation interpreting dreams in prison, Joseph gains the opportunity to interpret Pharaoh’s dream (Gen 41). God has been at work all along advancing the story of his mission from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob, and now to Joseph. By the chapter’s end, Joseph is second only to Pharaoh, is married with two sons and is responsible for guiding the nation through a time of unparalleled famine.
The famine has spread throughout the entire region (Gen 42), and Joseph’s family desperately comes to Egypt for help. Joseph accuses them of spying and holds Simeon captive until they return with Benjamin to prove their identity and truthfulness. Joseph secretly returns his brothers’ money making it appear they have stolen it. In Jacob’s mind Joseph is long dead, and he tightly clings to his youngest son Benjamin. Joseph and Benjamin are his only sons by his beloved Rachel.
What does it mean?
Keep looking for the many parallels between Joseph and Jesus. This is not just history; this is God telling the story of his love for all the families of the earth. While Jacob and his other sons are caught in a web of dysfunction and sin, Joseph is in Egypt touching the world. All the earth is coming to Joseph in Egypt (41:57), a Hebrew, to buy grain!
God is not at all surprised by the many failings of his humans, even the ones he has especially chosen for his mission. After all, this is the reason for the mission – to rescue, redeem and restore what sin has twisted. We cannot save ourselves. When all is finished, God alone will receive the glory.
Sadly, rather than the families of the earth coming to the tribes of Israel in the Promised Land, the 12 tribes go down into Egypt just to survive. In large part, the difference between Joseph and his brothers is missional.
How will I respond?
Am I thriving as I continue to grow into what God designed me to be, or am I merely striving to survive? Do others seek me out for help because they sense God’s blessing on my life, or am I the one constantly and even desperately at times reaching out to others for help?
What is one step I can take today to focus more maturely on loving others and the world around me?