13 But there wasn’t any food in the whole area. In fact, there wasn’t enough food anywhere. The people of Egypt and Canaan lost their strength because there wasn’t enough food to go around. 14 Joseph collected all the money in Egypt and Canaan. People paid it to him for the grain they were buying. And Joseph brought it to Pharaoh’s palace. 15 When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone, all the Egyptians came to Joseph. They said, “Give us food. What good would it do you to watch us all die? Our money is all gone.” 16 “Then bring your livestock,” said Joseph. “You say your money is gone. So I’ll trade you food for your livestock.” 17 They brought their livestock to Joseph. He traded them food for their animals. They gave him their horses, sheep, goats, cattle and donkeys. He helped the people live through that year by trading them food for all their livestock. 18 When that year was over, they came to him the next year. They said, “We can’t hide the truth from you. Our money is gone. Our livestock belongs to you. We don’t have anything left to give you except our bodies and our land. 19 What good would it do you to watch us die? Why should our land be destroyed? Trade us food for ourselves and our land. Then we and our land will belong to Pharaoh. Give us some seeds so we can live and not die. We don’t want the land to become a desert.” 20 So Joseph bought all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh. All the people of Egypt sold their fields. They did that because there wasn’t enough food anywhere. So the land became Pharaoh’s. 21 Joseph made the people slaves from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 But Joseph didn’t buy the land that belonged to the priests. They received a regular share of food from Pharaoh. They had enough food from what Pharaoh gave them. That’s why they didn’t have to sell their land. 23 Joseph said to the people, “I’ve bought you and your land today for Pharaoh. So here are some seeds for you to plant in the ground. 24 But when the crop comes in, give a fifth of it to Pharaoh. Keep the other four-fifths for yourselves. They will be seeds for the fields. And they will be food for yourselves, your children, and the other people who live with you.” 25 “You have saved our lives,” they said. “If you are pleased with us, we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.” 26 So Joseph made a law about land in Egypt. It’s still the law today. A fifth of the produce belongs to Pharaoh. Only the land belonging to the priests didn’t become Pharaoh’s.
It’s funny how the tide turns. We all know how the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt but here we read it’s the Egyptians who were sold into slavery to save their lives – at the hand of a Hebrew no less – and they were grateful to him for saving them.
Why didn’t the Egyptians remember this time in history? I wonder if their treatment of the Hebrews in Exodus would have been better had they remembered they were once in the same boat. Or even if they remembered it was a Hebrew that saved their lives.
What have I failed to remember? Am I treating my Heavenly Father badly because I’ve forgotten His past provisions and miraculous answers to prayer? Am I responding to crisis situations with greater faith? Are the facts of Gods amazing stories in my life constantly in my mind so that when things go wrong it’s hardly a blip on my radar? Do we treasure these stories and think about them often like Mary did? (See Luke 2:19) Do I use them to say without a hint of doubt “because God came through for me then He will come through for me now!”?
Oh Lord my God. Jesus, forgive me for treating you badly and forgetting what you have done for me in the past. Make me like your earthly Mother – to treasure what you’ve done for me, think about it often, and let the stories fill my heart with faith. You are awesome and I praise you. Amen
Written by Boudy vanNoppen