Food Supply

Genesis 47:14-19

14Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the grain they were buying, and he brought it to Pharaoh’s palace. 15When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone, all Egypt came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? Our money is all gone.”

16“Then bring your livestock,” said Joseph. “I will sell you food in exchange for your livestock, since your money is gone.” 17So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses, their sheep and goats, their cattle and donkeys. And he brought them through that year with food in exchange for all their livestock.

18When that year was over, they came to him the following year and said, “We cannot hide from our lord the fact that since our money is gone and our livestock belongs to you, there is nothing left for our lord except our bodies and our land. 19Why should we perish before your eyes—we and our land as well? Buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we with our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh. Give us seed so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.”

Beggar Christian?!?

Have you encountered a beggar or panhandler who claims he’s Christian?

Several times, people knock at the door, introduce themselves as Christian and then, ask for money to buy gas for their car or money to buy food.

What’s your opinion? Is it Christian lifestyle to beg? In times of war, people are displaced or forced to evacuate. When Christians solicit for a cause, is it beneficial to our testimony that God provides when we trust Him as Lord? The Lord of lords owns everything and provides for His faithful servants. The Lord Jesus promised in Matthew 6:33-34, Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

How do we “Seek His kingdom?” We let God’s authority prevails in our life.

How do we “Seek His righteousness?” God’s righteousness dictates our lifestyle.

Does it exhibit godly righteousness if Christians live as freeloaders? It’s not right!

King David testified in Psalm 37:25, I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

The lifestyle of Joseph represents how God sustains and provides for the needs of genuine believers. In the time of Joseph, famine has caused suffering in the entire ancient world. Nobody sold grain anywhere except in Egypt.

Before the famine, Joseph collected and kept grains in store houses.

Store

14Joseph collected all the money that was to be found in Egypt and Canaan in payment for the grain they were buying, and he brought it to Pharaoh’s palace. 15When the money of the people of Egypt and Canaan was gone, all Egypt came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? Our money is all gone.”

Previously, Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams as years of abundance and famine, and it happened. Joseph collected all extra foods and kept them in secured storehouses during the years of abundance. And then, severe famine began. The brothers of Joseph starved in Canaan so that they relocated to Egypt together with their families. And, Joseph provided food for them for free!

The severe famine lingered for seven years, and people had consumed all their reserved food supplies. While the family of Joseph did not worry about their food, the rest of the world had no choice but to spend all their money for food.

People in Egypt and nearby nations purchased food from Joseph.

The severe famine and scarcity of food supply in the time of Joseph was not an isolated case. We also hear news about hunger somewhere in the world.

The scarcity and abundance of food represent a reality of life in eternity.

Lazarus and the Rich Man

In a parable, Jesus told a story of a rich man with luxurious lifestyle, and a beggar named Lazarus. Lazarus had no job, why? Disease covered his skin and even dogs licked his sores. Would you employ a man covered with skin disease?

Anyway, both Lazarus and the rich man died. Angels carried Lazarus to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man was tormented in Hades. Abraham’s bosom represents the eternal glorious life for believers who trust in Christ as Savior. Hades is the eternal punishment for those who rejected Christ.

The story of beggar Lazarus with skin disease, does it inspire begging as lifestyle? Does it represent possible tough problems that believers may endure?

In comparison, the luxurious lifestyle of the rich man represents a lifestyle that humans may yearn in a material world. Lazarus didn’t long to become rich or have luxury. He just wanted to eat even discarded food from the rich man’s table.

Can you agree that the lifestyle we choose has eternal consequences?

In the parable, Jesus declared an agonizing punishment for anyone who rejects His warning. The rich pleaded in Luke 16:27-31, 27‘I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Can anyone believe Christ’s resurrection from the dead and disregard the warnings of Moses and the Prophets? We accept the Old Testament warning by faith, and by faith, we repent of our sin. Repentance is practical proof that God’s word is powerful. Christ is the Lord who spoke to Moses and the prophets.

In any case, make sure that you have faith like Abraham. Romans 4:16 says, To those who have the faith of Abraham, He is the father of us all. It also says in Galatians 3:7, Those who have faith are children of Abraham.

Like Israelites, we are descendants of Abraham by faith. The Israelites had no problem of food during the severe famine. The rest of the world was starving. After they spent all their money for food, they came to Joseph. He instructed them to exchange or swap their livestock with food they needed.

2. Swap

16“Then bring your livestock,” said Joseph. “I will sell you food in exchange for your livestock, since your money is gone.” 17So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for their horses, their sheep and goats, their cattle and donkeys. And he brought them through that year with food in exchange for all their livestock.

Why did the people swap their livestock with food? Why not just eat them?

They may have eaten some of their livestock and swap some with grain.

They may have even sold valuable things or anything of value in their home, and their livestock was their last solution to hunger. Did you have extreme hunger?

Famine in the Scripture was instrumental for God to test faith in Him.

Abraham was the father of all who have faith in God. His faith was also tested with famine. It says in Genesis 12:10, There was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe.

Abraham went to Egypt during famine but when everything was normal, he returned to Canaan. There was famine also in the time of Abraham’s son Isaac.

In Genesis 26:1-6, 1There was a famine in the land—besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines in Gerar. 2The Lord appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 3Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. 

Isaac obeyed the Lord. He waited for God to bless him. And, he’s blessed.

Famine was God’s instrument to magnify His provision for all who trust in Him. In his time, Joseph was the ruler, the lord who controlled the marketplace of food.

Joseph represents Christ in time of needs. He is Lord over everything.

The Lord Jesus said John 6:35, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

When the Lord decreed that whoever comes to Him will never be hungry or thirsty, did He exclusively pertain to spiritual food and spiritual drink only?

Or, did He include what we may eat and drink in this physical world?

It says in 2 Peter 1:1-3, 1To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

The term ‘knowledge’ pertains to first-hand relationship with God and of Jesus our Lord. The intimacy of our relationship with Christ is equated with our trust that the Lord provides everything we need to live a godly lifestyle. Meaning: The more we grow in faith, the more we trust that God will provide for our needs. Christ the author of life knows the best things we need to live a godly lifestyle.

The Lord Jesus instructed in Matthew 6:31-32, So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

Pray for wisdom on how or where you may access God’s provisions!

Joseph told his brothers to relocate to Egypt because the famine will linger a little longer, and he provided food for them and their families. His father Jacob, his brothers and their families did not bother to ask Joseph what they needed. Everything was provided for them according to their number.

If Joseph knew how to provide for his family, the Lord of lords knows far better than Joseph how to provide for all members of the family of God. Amen?!?

It is true but we can only believe and expect the Lord’s provision by faith.

We do not know the future, what happened in the next few years or in the coming decades. But, the Lord knows what the future brings. We just trust Him!

It says in Romans 8:35-39, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Situations, events or circumstances we may appreciate or disapprove, the Lord allows anything useful to get our attention and recognize His love for us.

You may be enduring some troubles or facing some concerns right now. Through Christ who loved us, you can conquer them. Can you believe it? Your reaction to concerns practically proves the level of your trust in Christ as Lord!

You may try your best to accomplish things. Listen: Events, situations, or circumstances happen only when the Lord allows them. It’s best to ask His help. Pray that Christ will give you firm decision to things or ideas that He wants you accomplish. Godly ideas require godly effort. So, ask God to increase your faith.

Christ has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. In heaven and on earth, anything happens according to His discretion. Similarly, Joseph had the authority to control the sales of food supplies to all who purchased from him.

3. Sell

18When that year was over, they came to him the following year and said, “We cannot hide from our lord the fact that since our money is gone and our livestock belongs to you, there is nothing left for our lord except our bodies and our land. 19Why should we perish before your eyes—we and our land as well? Buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we with our land will be in bondage to Pharaoh. Give us seed so that we may live and not die, and that the land may not become desolate.”

During famine people became survivors. They resolved to sell themselves and their lands to Joseph. It’s sacrificial decision they made just to survive. Truly, to be servants of the ruler who can supply the food they needed is far better than without master but without food, right? Who wants to be independently hungry?

By faith, we trust that God sustains our needs to live a godly lifestyle.

It says in Genesis 15:1, After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”

His Hebrew name ‘Abram’ means ‘exalted father,’ and the Lord changed his name to ‘Abraham’ which means ‘father of many nations.’ Abraham believed God and at old age, the Lord gave him a son. His wife Sarah was very old to get pregnant but she gave birth to their son Isaac. With God, nothing is impossible!

Only God can do godly things. Do you want to prove the level of your faith?  Pray that God reveals to you godly things He prepared for you to ask and have.

It says in Galatians 3:14, He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

When we accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, God sent the Spirit of Christ into our life as guarantee that He will bless us similar to Abraham’s blessings. Do you believe that? We’ve got to grow in our faith. God tested Abraham. He will also test our faith for us to realize how much we have grown in our faith. It says in Hebrews 13:5, Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Most people have no idea that the love of money has overtaken them. Of course! To be responsible (provide for family needs and pay monthly bills) is very respectable!”  If expenditures are not necessities, not essential to godly lifestyle, they’re considered luxury or leisure items. Most people work extra-hard for them.

Check this out! Ecclesiastes 5:10, Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.

Many workaholic parents have no sufficient time for their children. They work very hard just to buy luxury items, high tech gadgets for their children. And then, they wonder why children do not know how to respect parents who gave them leisure and luxury. Physically and mentally tired, they need rest or sleep.

Road Accident

Did you ever drive while sleepy? A driver said that when he was awoken, he’s shocked that his car was parked along the highway with engine running. Another driver said that she was awoken when her car hit the truck in front.

Many drivers admitted fatigue or lack of sleep caused their involvement in road accidents. Be considerate to others and to yourselves.

It says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

As we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we are reminded of the death and resurrection of Christ. He’s crucified to pay the penalty of our sins. He purchased our freedom from the slavery of sin. Christ is our Lord, and we are His servants. He supplies needs, strength to serve Him with a lifestyle of godly righteousness.

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