Saturday, October 01, 2011

Pharaoh Concurs With Joseph’s Choice for His Family’s Relocation - Genesis 47:1-6

Then Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, and said, “My father and my brothers and their flocks and their herds and all that they have, have come out of the land of Canaan; and behold, they are in the land of Goshen.”  He took five men from among his brothers and presented them to Pharaoh.  Then Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” So they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.”  They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now, therefore, please let your servants live in the land of Goshen.”  Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you.  The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.”

Joseph kept the word that he gave his brothers at the end of chapter 46.  He went and told Pharaoh exactly as he had planned.  He told him the truth and then presented five of his brothers to Pharaoh.  It was out of respect for Pharaoh’s time and position that he did not parade the whole family before him.

As expected by Joseph, Pharaoh begins his questioning of the brothers and they too tell him the truth, and ask for permission to reside in Goshen.  The name “Goshen” is translated as “drawing near” and likely has an Egyptian origin.  It is in northern Egypt, east of the lower Nile River, and near the ancient city of Heliopolis.

And Pharaoh gives them all they asked for and more.  He reaffirms Joseph’s position in his kingdom by stating that Egypt is at his disposal and he can settle his brothers in Goshen, as they ask.  Pharaoh was no fool for while neither Joseph nor his brothers mentioned that Goshen was the “best of the land”, Pharaoh certainly did make them aware of that fact, that he knew it, and was still willing to allow them to live there.

But he went further than that and he offered the capable men among the family good positions if they wanted them.  They were to be in charge of his own cattle.

This appears to be a very straightforward account of several things:
  • First, God is in complete control of all of our affairs and prepares the necessary people’s hearts and minds to concur with what God wants for us at a given time.
  • Second, He uses men (or women) in key places (Joseph in this case) to facilitate our pursuit of what God wants for us.
  • Third, we need not and must not stray from telling the truth, as we trust God to work things out for us.  No matter the outcome, telling the truth is not an option.  We don’t need to exaggerate our resumes, for example.  Our comfort must be in the fact that whatever results, we know God will be with us – even if we don’t get to stay in our ‘Goshen’ as Jacob’s family did.
  • Fourth, God often adds extra blessings to what we seek from Him.  He is the God of bonuses as we saw with Pharaoh offering the brothers work.

What has God got in store for your tomorrow and beyond?  Have you connected with the key facilitators He has placed in your life to help you pursue your God-given goals?  Are you totally sold out to telling the truth in all your circumstances and willing to accept the outcome He brings about?  Will you recognize the extra blessings as His gifts when they come?

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