Apr6TueRedemption story April 6, 2021
Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt. During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly, and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it. And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured. Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him. Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”” Genesis 41:46-52 ESV
“When Jacob learned that there was grain for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” And he said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain for sale in Egypt. Go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die.” So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with his brothers, for he feared that harm might happen to him.” Genesis 42:1-4 ESV
I love this beautiful Old Testament story of Joseph! It’s such a perfect reflection and shadow of Jesus and of redemption. Joseph was born for the purpose of saving his people and the nations from a severe famine. He was called to position in a palace, and no it wasn’t an easy journey. He was forsaken by family, hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, accused of wrong and then thrown into jail because of a lie. No, it wasn’t the path he would have chosen to receive the ring and robe of Pharaoh. Yet, Joseph endures and when his brothers see him again after 13 years, they didn’t recognize him. “Now Joseph was governor over the land. He was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke roughly to them. “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.” And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.” Genesis 42:6-8
Joseph then tests his brothers and accuses them of being spies. His brothers reply that they are not spies, but all sons of one man in the land of Canaan, the youngest brother Benjamin being home with our Father. Joseph still says, “You are spies!” and imprisons them for 3 days. After the third day he tells them they may go and take food home but one of them will have to stay, plus they have to bring their younger brother Benjamin with them next time, as proof they weren’t liars. Then he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes. And Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, and to replace every man’s money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. This was done for them.
This last part is the part that struck me this Easter. Joseph gave them the food they needed, returned each man’s money to his sack and also provided them the provisions for their journey. It brought to mind these verses from Isaiah 55: “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.”
Joseph’s brothers had to come to Egypt to buy grain so that they would live and not die. They came with money to buy food, but left with food, with all their money given back to them, plus provisions for the journey! You see, money wasn’t what was needed for these brothers to gain food. Because Joseph knew this was his family, he would have given them the food regardless. The brothers on the other hand didn’t know that there was much more to be gained. They had a brother in the Kingdom! Who had the Pharaohs ear! Pharaoh had basically handed all the land of Egypt into Joseph’s hands, and told him that no one would be able to raise his hand or foot in all the land without Joseph’s permission. But Joseph wasn’t going to reveal himself to his brothers unless they brought Benjamin with them. He also wanted to test that they wouldn’t desert their younger brother, in favor of their own self- interest, which was essentially what they had done to Joseph many years before.
Here’s what struck me. We are all given the invitation of Isaiah 55:1 to come to God. We who are thirsty and broke, we can come and buy from Him, without money. That brings up the question, how can we buy without money? The answer is beautiful. Like the brothers of Joseph, we too have a brother in Christ, and He has the kingdom of the Father. He has paid the price for us to come and buy whatever we need. Just come! Jesus paid the price for whatever need you have. He paid it all. It sounds too good to be true, which is maybe why we hesitate to come and freely receive. Nevertheless, He says, come without money for the price was paid 2000 years ago, on the cross. It is a final bill, paid in full! God wants us to have this gift, to live our lives through His Son, Jesus. He is the entrance to the treasure rooms, the storerooms in heaven! Did you notice how the brothers not only received food and their money, but also provisions for the journey? I love this foreshadowing of Jesus Christ! He not only supplies us with our basic needs, but also the provisions for our journey through life, till we’re home with Him. His love is a wellspring that will never run dry!
Are you thirsty for refreshing? Come. Do you long for renewed strength? Come and buy, till it overflows. Are you hungry for wholeness, for healing? Come! Are you hungry for more of heaven here on earth? Come and buy without money and without price! Do you long to be free from the chains holding you back? Come, He is giving you the keys. Do you long to be free from the things that entangle your feet and keep you from running this race? Come and buy! He has paid for your freedom. Come, there is more than enough. More than you could imagine, is available for you. Because He’s just that good!
Isaiah says come buy water, wine and milk.
Water: is life. We can’t live without water. As soon as we get thirsty, what do we ask for? Water, and nothing else satisfies. Why? Water refreshes, it energizes and is involved in the well-being of your whole body. Hydration affects your strength, power, and endurance. And it flushed out waste from your body. The Word of God hold the same essentials for us spiritually. We need it to stay alive and to thrive. We need it to strengthen us and to empower us. How healthy are we spiritually? A lot of that depends on our intake of “water”.
Wine: is spirit. Have you ever met a spirited person? They are a bundle of energy and life! Children are a good example of spirit: they walk into a room and instantly capture all the attention. They laugh, they skip and jump, they ask questions, they quickly move on from disputes, in short, they live life to the fullest! God wants the same for us. To live life fully and abundantly. And it’s available, just come and buy wine!
Milk: is nourishment. Every parent knows this. If you want a baby to grow, you need more than water. Babies need the nutrition of milk. Likewise, God as our Father, knows we need nourishment to grow. So He provides for us milk. Whatever we need to grow is found in Him, in the Word. We have no need that hasn’t already been provided. God meets all our needs according to His riches in glory, in Christ Jesus. He is a good Father!
The story of Joseph also reminded me that we need to bring Benjamin with us. He is the key that unlocked the heart of Joseph. The name Benjamin means, Son of my right hand, and for me that’s a beautiful reminder of who and whose I am. A son, a daughter, of God; and being such comes with responsibility. It isn’t enough to have come and gotten the food (of the Word.) You now have to eat it, which means you have to take it to heart, meditate on it and let it go to work within you. Benjamin, to me, is the living out of the new man inside. It’s the pursuit and passion for more of Christ. God sees the one whose heart is pursuing after Him. He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. If we are spending time getting to know the Word, getting the nourishment of it inside, we will see God. He’ll reveal His heart to the one whom He can call a friend. How much of yourself are you willing to give to Him? I pray for you to know Him intimately, where you realize that all the places He touches in you, burst with life. I pray for you such a flooding of His light that you will see there is nothing like His love. That you just want to be where He is and ever grow nearer to His heart!