46 Joseph was 30 years old when he began serving Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. He left Pharaoh’s palace and traveled all over Egypt. 47 During the seven years there was plenty of food. The land produced more than the people needed. 48 Joseph collected all the extra food produced in those seven years in Egypt. He stored it in the cities. In each city he stored up the food grown in the fields around it. 49 Joseph stored up huge amounts of grain. There was as much of it as sand by the sea. There was so much grain it couldn’t be measured. So Joseph stopped keeping records of it. 50 Before the years when there wasn’t enough food, two sons were born to Joseph. He had them by Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera. Potiphera was the priest of On. 51 Joseph named his first son Manasseh. That’s because he said, “God has made me forget all my trouble and my father’s whole family.” 52 He named the second son Ephraim. That’s because he said, “God has given me children in the land where I’ve suffered so much.” 53 The seven years when there was plenty of food in Egypt came to an end. 54 Then the seven years when there wasn’t enough food began. It happened just as Joseph had said it would. There wasn’t enough food in any of the other lands. But in the whole land of Egypt there was food. 55 When all the people of Egypt began to get hungry, they cried out to Pharaoh for food. He told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. Do what he tells you.” 56 There wasn’t enough food anywhere in the country. So Joseph opened the storerooms. He sold grain to the Egyptians because people were very hungry all over Egypt. 57 People from all over the world came to Egypt. They came to buy grain from Joseph. That’s because people were very hungry everywhere.
The story of Joseph’s life is nothing short of being truly incredible. His level of faith and steadfastness in the face of adversity is amazing and here in this passage of scripture we see the culmination of God’s plan to bless him and fulfill the dreams that he was given in his youth.
But the bigger picture is not all sweetness and light. When he calls his son Ephraim, which means “fruitful,” he still calls Egypt the “land of his grief” (verse 52).
The fact is, that while it is better to be a ruler than it is to be a prisoner, Joseph knew that the fulfillment of his dream was not just about being in charge or being wealthy or powerful.
The same is true for me. I remember being blessed abundantly in my employment and suddenly ending up in a management position of significance well beyond my years and experience. I was able to thrive in that environment because of God’s blessing on me. But if I had thought that the growing success of being in management was all God had for me, I know that I would have quickly become grieved with the pressure, the bureaucracy and the injustice. I wasn’t there for myself, but for others and for my own future – to build skills that God can use for his kingdom.
Lord, thanks that you are sovereign and that we can trust you for the occurrences that don’t make sense and the ones that make sense but are really hard to live through. Please make me more like Joseph – a man who was able to persevere through many very difficult seasons so that he could serve your greater purpose.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware