Reading Genesis 41, these two passages literally took my breath away:
‘Joseph was 30 years old when he began to serve Pharaoh, king of Egypt, by traveling throughout the land of Egypt, independent from Pharaoh’s oversight. While bumper crops grew during the seven abundant years, Joseph collected the surplus food throughout the land of Egypt, storing food in cities; that is, he gathered the food from fields that surrounded every city and stored it there. Joseph stored up so much grain—like sand on the seashore in so much abundance!—that he stopped keeping records because it was proving to be impossible to measure how much they were gathering’ (Gen. 41: 46 – 49) … and ‘Joseph opened all of the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, because the famine was beginning to be severe throughout the land of Egypt. In addition, all of the surrounding nations came to Joseph to buy grain from Egypt, because the famine had become severe throughout the world’ (Gen. 41: 56 – 57).
Think about the context:
On a personal level, hated by his brothers, Joseph had been sold into slavery at the age of 17, had been wrongfully accused and imprisoned, his dream of being a revered leader seemed nothing more than a childish fantasy.
On a national level, Egypt was at the beginning of what would be a seven year long famine, during which the whole region cried out for food.
Hhhmmm … Sounds like 2020 doesn’t it??!! A world full of personal and national crisis – job losses, a virus pandemic, toilet paper shortages, individuals and governments crying out for answers …
And yet, there’s this explosive sentence, calmly standing in the middle of the chaos: ‘Joseph stored up so much grain—like sand on the seashore in so much abundance!—that he stopped keeping records because it was proving to be impossible to measure how much they were gathering’.
The world is gripped by panic and fear, but Joseph has already hung up his clipboard and he’s sitting with his feet up on his desk, because he knows: GOD’S GOT THIS!
What’s in the Egyptian storehouses? Not “some grain”, not “enough grain” – no!! SO MUCH grain that he stopped counting!!
And did you catch the echo of God’s promise to Abraham? Our God’s not a one-off God, a hit-and-miss God, a maybe-He-will-maybe-He-won’t God. No!! He’s a once-and-forever God, a same-in-the-beginning-as-at-the-end God!!
When I read Genesis 41, it immediately brought to mind 2 Corinthians 9:8: “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” This is a verse of completeness … look at all the” alls” and “everys” – does it leave any room for any “maybes” or “excepts”?
As believers, this is the promise we have in Christ. This is our equivalent to 7 years worth of grain in our storehouses. This is the verse that allows us to breathe deeply when circumstances threaten to suck the air from our lungs. This is the verse that allows us to know where our supply comes from. This is the verse that allows us to relax our white-knuckle grip on our lives and say “not my will, but Yours”.
When fear grips you, God says “I am in ALL things”. When doubt sways you, God says “I am in ALL times”. When anxiety causes you to tremble, God says “I am ALL that you need”.
Matthew Henry says: “Joseph was made fruitful IN the land of his affliction. Light is sometimes sown for the righteous in a barren and unlikely soil; and yet if God sow it, and water it, it will come up again. The afflictions of the saints promote their fruitfulness.”
God isn’t waiting for us at the end of COVID-19 – He’s here, now, and He was here before the storm even started brewing – we were “blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” LONG BEFORE #Wuhan and #handsanitizer started trending (Eph. 1: 3).
“How abundant are the good things that You have stored up for those who fear You, that You bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in You.” Psalm 31:19
Throughout Scripture the message is clear: if you need mercy and grace and comfort and provision and rest, go to the Lord Jesus, in Whom all fullness dwells.
“We have no reason to distrust the goodness of God, and surely we have no reason to question His power; He is able to make all grace abound towards us, and abound in us; to give a large increase of spiritual and temporal good things. He causes us to have a sufficiency in all things, to be content with what we have, to make up what we give, to be able to give yet more.” (Matthew Henry)