Monday, October 17, 2011

Joseph Collects All The Money Within Egypt and Canaan - Genesis 47:13-14

Now there was no food in the land, because the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine.  And Joseph gathered all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan for the grain which they bought, and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.

The great famine continued, but at least the family through which God would deliver His Covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was now relocated in the land of Rameses in Egypt, close to Joseph and to all the stored grain.  It is interesting to note that the famine itself could not be avoided – it was where they were before in the land of Canaan and it was also where they are now in the land of Egypt.

Sometimes it seems we change our surroundings to escape our problems, but somehow they never go away, they’re still there.  I am sure you have experienced that.  But here’s the bottom line – it is better to face our problems from the spot that God wants us to be and where He has moved us to, then to face them from where we wanted to remain.  Your God, Who tells you to go, also goes with you.  And that makes all the difference.

So bad was the famine, that all the money that both Canaanites and Egyptians had, had been gathered by Joseph in exchange for grain he had been giving them during its early years.  And the text says that Joseph took all the money to Pharaoh’s house.

As I read these verses today I am also conscious of the fact we are only two-weeks into this fast-spreading and now worldwide protest phenomenon known as ‘Occupy Wall Street’.  The 99% of the world’s poor is out to reclaim the riches of the world from the 1% who are at the top of the wealth ladder.  This in turn allowed me to realize how the scriptures are indeed writings for all times and that our understanding, or at least our perception of what we read and how it is to be applied to us, varies based on what is going on in our times and what we personally have experienced.  Looking at these verses which simply relate facts of what happened thousands of years ago, would ignite different feelings in a Black American slave before the American Civil War, in an Arab Spring rebel fighting in Egypt to overthrow the country’s dictatorship, in a Occupy Wall Street protester, and in me.  But that is the beauty of God’s “love letter” to us.  We can all relate to it and we can all learn from it throughout the ages.

I can understand how frustrated the ordinary man, woman, and child must have felt when they realized that they had no more money and the famine’s end seemed to be nowhere in sight.  That seems to be the plight of the common man/woman today around the globe as he/she watches the economy tank and as no efforts of the world’s leaders appear to be able to address it or stop the free-fall.  People’s resources are dwindling, there’s a fear of losing one’s job, and even registered retirement plans are subject to being attacked by the government in an effort to raise more revenues and thus being eroded in value.  What happens next?  What more can we give?  In Greece alone where the population has been faced with continuous deductions in what they thought were assured earnings, along with greatly increased taxes, the suicide rate has risen by 40%.

Back in Egypt, the people had no more money.  So, what else could they be asked to surrender to Pharaoh in exchange for their needed bread, simply to survive?  Have you ever felt as if you were in the same spot?  Are you there now?  What more can you surrender to survive?

Those of us who truly know God, not just for what He can provide for us, but for Who He is, realize He has not changed, and only the circumstances of life have changed.  Our God is still the great I AM.  And He will see us through this next stage of world history.   Just as we’ll see in our study of the text that lies ahead He was about to do for the Israelites whom He had led to Egypt as part of His eternal plan.   Will you trust Him, and Him alone, for just that?  I hope so.

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