Thursday, January 19, 2017

Famine

Genesis‬ ‭41:57‬ ‭- So all countries came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain, because the famine was severe in all lands.
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The story of Joseph is one of my favorites. Joseph was one of twelve brothers. He was favored by his father Jacob. Jacob was a God-fearing man. The favoritism caused jealousy among the brothers and they sold him into slavery in Egypt and then lied to their father.

In a nutshell... Many years later Joseph had obtained Pharaoh's favor. He was given the responsibility of the storehouses in Egypt. A famine took place in the land of Joseph's family, Canaan in Israel. The brothers were sent to Egypt to buy grain. Joseph met his family but kept his identity a secret for a time. 

Eventually he let himself be known to them and he told them not to be grieved by what they had done (forgiveness) because: God sent me before you to preserve your life. God sent me before you ... to save your lives by a great deliverance. (Genesis 45:5,7) And later he said to his brothers: But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. ‭‭(Genesis‬ ‭50:20‬)

This story, account, speaks to us today also. There is a spiritual famine in the land. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. ...(Hosea 4:6) Many live in a famine without recognizing it. They live without the knowledge of the God who created them. They live without the knowledge of truth. 

Sometimes, though, God will introduce a time or season or event in one's life where this famine is recognized. The bottom will seem to fall out. God might intervene and draw them to Him. Then, like we see above, all bad turns to good. This is what Jesus Christ does. He makes good out of the wreck we've made of our lives. He delivers us and makes us alive. He saves us.

I also know that not everything we see happen in our saved lives as bad is. It might be God's wake up call for us or He's in the process of working something in or out of our lives for the better. So we really shouldn't be complaining but rejoicing believing in a God who is no doubt up to something good. 

I cannot emphasize this enough...like Joseph saved his family through an act of evil upon him brought on by his own brothers, Jesus saves us from the evil one who only comes to steal, kill and destroy. We are all brothers and sisters with the devil until Jesus delivers us from all that. 

Later Joseph's father prophesies into the lives of all his sons. Here's what he says about Joseph. There is one small phrase that truly packs a wallop: 
The archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him. But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty God of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel)... (Genesis‬ ‭49:23-24‬)
I see the archers as his brothers. And later it is clearly in reference to Christ our Shepherd who delivers us and who is the Rock of our salvation. Hallelujah!

I find it interesting, while no coincidence at all, that it is the grain Joseph's family came to purchase. This is the basic staple of life. We need grain to feed livestock. Grain produces bread, a very wonderful staple in today's diets, although now we seem to even have developed health problems because of it. Is this because we aren't eating the same type of wheat as in the biblical days? The idea of God is not as popular nor important as it once was. Perhaps our treatment of wheat has changed also. Bread should not be bad for us; Jesus is not bad for us. 

I love God's Word, the richness of it, the admonition, promises, convictions and especially the examples. Examples for us to learn from, promises to recall and encourage, conviction to pierce our hearts into obedience and faithfulness to Jesus, our Deliverer. I pray that the famine in the many hearts and souls who do not know in this Jesus would be satisfied (and if a heart does not recognize a famine yet, that it be made known) by Him. He is the manna come down from heaven, the bread of life. He came that anyone who receives Him would have everlasting life. He came to deliver you from death to life. His hand is outstretched even now. Do not die for lack of knowledge. 

John‬ ‭6:49-51‬ ‭- Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.