Food for the Hungry Soul

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Genesis 41:33-5733Now therefore let Pharaoh look out a man discreet and wise, and set him over the land of Egypt. 34Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. 35And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 36And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine. 37And the thing was good in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all his servants. 38And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? 39And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Forasmuch as God hath showed thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art: 40Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. 41And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt. 42And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; 43And he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee: and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt. 44And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. 45And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnath-paaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over all the land of Egypt. 46And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. 47And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. 48And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. 49And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number. 50And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Poti-pherah priest of On bare unto him. 51And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house. 52And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. 53And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended. 54And the seven years of dearth began to come, according as Joseph had said: and the dearth was in all lands; but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread: and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do. 56And the famine was over all the face of the earth: And Joseph opened all the storehouses, and sold unto the Egyptians; and the famine waxed sore in the land of Egypt. 57And all countries came into Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn; because that the famine was so sore in all lands. (Genesis 41:33‑57)
Joseph told Pharaoh that the extra corn which could not be eaten during the years of plenty should be laid up in storehouses, ready to use during the years of famine which were to follow. God was work­ing in His own way to bring Joseph’s brothers to confess their guilt and fulfill Joseph’s dreams, as well as to provide the needed food to keep people from starvation.
Pharaoh saw at once that this plan was an excellent one, and he honored Joseph greatly, making him ruler over all Egypt. Joseph was driven through the streets of the city in a chariot, and everyone was forced to “bow the knee” to him. How wonderfully God rewarded him for all he had endured, for we may be sure He never fails to honor those who honor Him (1 Samuel 2:30). This exalted place given to Joseph was a shadow of the place which the Lord Jesus will have in a soon-coming day. He was obedient unto death, and God will give Him the very highest place of honor, and all will be forced to bow the knee to Him owning Him as Lord (Philippians 2:8-118And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:8‑11)). Those who own Him as their Lord now are saved. Have you con­fessed Him as your Lord and Saviour, dear reader?
The Body of Christ
Pharaoh called Joseph Zaphnath­paaneah, which means a revealer of secrets, and then he gave him a Gentile woman to be his wife. This reminds us of God’s great secret, hidden down through the ages, which has now been revealed. It was hidden in God (Ephesians 3:99And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: (Ephesians 3:9)) until Christ, like Joseph, was re­jected by His brethren (the Jews). Then the secret came out, and we find it in Ephesians 3:3-63How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: (Ephesians 3:3‑6). The Gentiles are now being brought in as part of the one body, and Christ is going to have a bride. Most of our young readers are Gentiles, but perhaps some are Jews, and we might say that although God is particularly working among the Gentiles, still the message is to “whosoever will.” When anyone believes the gospel, he ceases to be either a Jew or a Gentile in the eyes of God, and becomes part of the church of God which is composed of all true believers. When the last one is saved, the body of Christ (the church) will be completed, and the Lord will come and take His own to heaven. The church is the bride of Christ, and the marriage will take place in heaven (Revelation 19:77Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)) between the time He comes for His own (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) and the time (at least seven years later) when He comes back with them to set up His kingdom on earth (Jude 1414And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, (Jude 14)).
The Bread of Life
At last the time of famine came. “Where can we get bread to eat?” was the question everywhere. They went to Pharaoh, but he said, “Go to Joseph.” Surely everyone who is unsaved is in need of Christ, the bread of life, and we would send out a similar message, “Go to Jesus.” He will meet all your need, just as Joseph was able to meet the need of those starving ones. There was plenty for all who came to him from every land, but they had to pay for their corn, whereas the gospel is free. You can “Buy... without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:11Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1)). Come now, and find food for your hungry soul. The Lord Jesus is waiting to bless and save you today.
Further Meditation
1. How did Pharaoh honor Joseph for interpreting his dream and coming up with a plan to prepare for the famine to come?
2. What other well-known Jews in the Old Testament had Gentile wives?
3. You might enjoy a wonderful and simple presentation of the church as the bride of Christ in the pamphlet The Church: The Bride of Christ by H. E. Hayhoe.