Scripture: When Jacob learned that there was grain for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” And he said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain for sale in Egypt. Go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die.” Genesis 42:1-2 ESV
Observation: At the young age of thirty, Pharaoh promoted Joseph to be second in command of all Egypt and directed all his subjects to submit to Joseph’s orders. So Joseph supervised the storage of one-fifth of all grain during the seven years of abundant harvest and its distribution during the seven years of famine. The author then adds that “all the earth came to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth” (41:57). In the subsequent verses of the next chapter, we learn that Jacob heard the news of grain for sale in Egypt. So he directs his sons to stop languishing in despair and take action (above verses).
Takeaway: Under the dire circumstances of famine and looming starvation, most of us would struggle to keep our heads up and problem-solve a way forward. Thankfully, the older, wiser Jacob reasoned his sons had nothing to lose by traveling to Egypt to see if the news was accurate. So he sends them on their way, unaware that the journey about to unfold would not only bring relief from famine but lead to the reunion of his assumed deceased son and an extended season of flourishing in a foreign land. But the path to salvation would lead through adversity. Not only would Joseph’s brothers have to persevere negotiations for grain but added tests of loyalty and integrity at the hand of their presumed lost brother, Joseph. And Jacob would have to release his treasured youngest son of Rachel from his care through the process.
It is no different for you and me. Our journeys toward salvation, whether it be when we came to the end of our resources and surrendered to Christ or when we ongoingly face crises in a sin-marred world, our Lord uses adversity to guide and strengthen us. Indeed, why should it be any different for us, given the Son of God repeatedly overcame trials and suffering en route to completing his mission? For without the crucifixion, there would be no triumph over death, no salvation for his beloved.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for sending us your Son to rescue us from our spiritual famines. Would you please help us cooperate with your Holy Spirit, who metes your grace to us to persevere hardship and lead us toward our heavenly home (where there is no adversity)? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling