“God’s Purpose for Having a Famine in Egypt”:
Dr. Gary M. Barker
Published in the Paso Robles press 6.2.21
Somethings that occur frequently in the Bible are historical accounts of how God uses severe circumstances to bring about His divine purpose and plan. In our last meditation we discussed the biblical truth that God has a predetermined plan that He carries out in the life of his servants. Because God is both almighty and all-knowing, He is able to make a wise plan and carry it out which results in God being able to control all the events of His plan. This is what occurred in the life of Joseph who was the prime minister of Pharaoh in Egypt. Joseph had the oversight and control of a vast amount of grain that he had been storing up for seven years in preparation for seven years of famine (Genesis 41:46-57). When the famine started, many people came to Joseph in Egypt to buy grain. This serious problem of starvation is how God planned to reunite Joseph and his family. These events are recorded in Genesis 42:1-8. The famine extended to the land of Canaan where Joseph’s father, Jacob, and his family lived. Jacob’s family ran out of food to eat but He heard that the country of Egypt had grain to sell. Jacob instructed ten of his sons to travel to Egypt to buy some grain to prevent his family from starving. Jacob purposely kept his youngest son, Benjamin, from going to Egypt to prevent him from experiencing harm. In obedience to their father, the ten brothers departed from Canaan to buy some grain in Egypt. They had absolutely no forewarning of the difficult circumstances that they would be experiencing. They didn’t remotely expect that they would be reunited with their exiled brother, Joseph, who they sold as a slave twenty years earlier.
When Joseph’s brothers finally arrive in Egypt and came before Joseph, a unique and strange thing occurred. Joseph recognized his brothers but they DID NOT RECOGNIZE HIM. The brothers bowed down before their brother who was the prime minister in Egypt. This was the fulfillment of a prophecy that Joseph had given to his brothers from a previous dream he had (Genesis 37:5-8). When Joseph saw them bowing down, he remembered his previous dream. God’s divine plan was being fulfilled. God was using this reunion and the circumstances that would follow to accomplish a number of important things.
- Preserve Joseph’s family from starving.
- Bring Joseph’s brothers into account for their past sins of hatred and deception
- Cause great joy to be renewed between Joseph and his father and brothers. God’s plan can always bring about a great blessing (Romans 8:28-39).
Lessons to Be Learned
- God’s plan for his servants many times will involve severe and difficult trials.
- God always has good and beneficial purposes in every trial He has planned for His servants.
- God will eventually cause his servants to experience joy, peace and satisfaction when they understand His purpose in the trials they experience. (James 1:2-5).
- God is in control of everything that occurs in the lives of His servants. God’s divine power and purpose prevents accidents from occurring in His servant’s life. This truth relieves us of