God on the Spot – Part 4: The Provision
By Dianne E. Butts –
In Part 2, God put Himself on the spot by promising to provide a Messiah to redeem people from their sin. In Part 3, He put Himself in a narrower spot by promising that Messiah would come through a particular family’s bloodline, that of Abraham and Sarah.
Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, has had twelve sons and unbeknownst to him one of them, Joseph, when he was seventeen, was sold into slavery by his brothers who told their father he was dead (Genesis 37). Joseph was taken as a slave to Egypt.
But then, in Genesis 42, more than twenty years later (Genesis 37:2, 41:46, 47, 53-55) Abraham’s descendants through Isaac—Jacob and his family—were in a dire situation. There was famine in the land. Food was getting more scarce all the time and Jacob feared for the very lives of his family. He was desperate. So he urged ten of his eleven sons to go to Egypt saying, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die” (Genesis 42:2).
The entire bloodline of Abraham was caught in that fearful famine and in danger of starving to death. God’s promise to bring Messiah through their bloodline was in danger of dying with them. Therefore it was God, not Jacob or his sons, Who was ultimately on the spot to provide for them, protect them, and insure that the bloodline of Abraham survived.
God had already placed Joseph in position in Egypt to provide for them.
This was not a whoops or a lucky break. This was a fulfillment of prophecy.
When God first promised childless Abram “a son coming from your own body” and offspring as numerous as the stars (Genesis 15:4-5), that same day, “the LORD said to him, ‘Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions… In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here…” (Genesis 15:13-14, 16a).
This was the beginning. The famine God allowed to come on the land of Canaan forced Jacob and his family to move to Egypt.
It was to Egypt that Joseph had been taken. In Egypt Joseph had endured hardship through which God brought him into the prominent position of running that country. It was in Egypt that God provided seven years of abundance along with the wisdom of Joseph’s management that provided food for all the surrounding countries when famine came.
It was in Egypt that God prepared the provision that would save the bloodline of Abraham through which God had promised to bring Messiah.
After Joseph’s brothers realized it was their brother whom they’d sold into slavery who had saved them all, they offered themselves as his slaves. But Joseph said, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children” (Genesis 50:19-21).
God was on the spot to provide for the descendants of Abraham. He did so through Joseph in Egypt.