The Whole World Knows

Genesis 41:57 And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.

A worldwide famine has a way of catching everyone’s attention.  Interestingly, before modern media, it was shared experiences like famine that drove the news beyond local to regional.  The famine was everywhere.  The grain was only in Egypt…by God’s design.

It was time for a little family reunion and dream fulfillment, but no one knew it but God.

Back in the Valley of Hebron, Joseph’s father Jacob had grieved over Joseph for years because he believed his other sons’ story about Joseph’s demise.  The truth is those brothers had a terrible secret they’d been hiding.  Jacob’s wife Rachel became pregnant again but on the way from Bethel to Ephrath, (Genesis 35:16-19), she died giving birth to Joseph’s only full sibling: Benjamin.

Now when the famine came, Jacob was alarmed for his family.  Famine was being felt everywhere and by everyone including his entire family, but here’s the issue: Jacob still hadn’t learned lessons about favoritism and his affections were redirected from presumed dead Joseph to Benjamin who became the protected child of Jacob’s favorite, now dead, wife.

Genesis 42:1 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” 2 He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.”  

Threat of starvation hits everyone in a very personal way.  It was life or death. Word of mouth is powerful communication … news can spread like wildfire when there’s something important going on. 

Years of abundance didn’t appear to catch anyone’s attention.  Famine did. 
The whole world heard where go to find grain: Egypt.

Genesis 42:3 Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. 5 So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan also.

Think about it:

  • Egypt is approximately 250 miles away from Jacob’s home.  At an average walking rate of 20-24 miles per day, the 10 sons would have been walking 10 to 12 days if they were intentional about getting there quickly…and if they were hungry.  What do you think the brothers might have talked about on their journey?
  • Why is it an important detail that Jacob refused to send Benjamin?  Was Benjamin hiding the same dirty secret of the other 10 brothers? 
  • Think about the brothers and their terrible secret.  How easy would it have been for the secret to slip out? 
  • Do you think the brothers held the same animosity toward favorite Benjamin or did their guilt remind them of their hatred for Joseph and cause a change of heart?
  • God had already been at work on Joseph (remember in Genesis 41:50-52 God made Joseph forget all his trouble and all his father’s household and made Joseph fruitful in the land of his suffering).  Forgiveness was complete, yet untested.  How might the famine come to prove the forgiveness is real?
  • Can you think of a time your forgiveness of someone has been tested to see if it’s complete and genuine? Read Romans 4:7-8

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on October 11, 2019

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