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Note: We have a bonus page today! This picture is not found in the book, but the material for this post comes from notes taken during the same series of messages as the others. There are many parallels that can be drawn between Joseph and Jesus, so we still wanted to visit this picture today.
Fact About Christ: Christ, like Joseph, becomes the ruler of all the earth
Joseph is the last of the patriarchs of the book of Genesis. His story begins in Genesis chapter 37 and ends with his death in Genesis chapter 50. He lives a dramatic and colorful life, with many lessons we can draw out from it. Today, however, we will cover this main question: How does Joseph become ruler of all the earth?
Before we read the verses below, here is a quick summary of Joseph’s life. To begin, Joseph is the second youngest of Jacob’s twelve sons, who were herders in the land of Canaan. He was favored by his father above his other brothers, and so, they hated him. Moreover, Joseph caused them to hate him more by telling them of his prophetic dreams that showed, through figure, all his family members bowing down to him. His brothers conspire to kill him, but end up selling him as a slave to travelling traders instead. He is sold to an Egyptian man, an officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the guard. Despite Joseph’s situation, however, the Lord was with him and caused all that Joseph did to prosper, which led to his placement as overseer of that house. However, he is later thrown into jail because of a false accusation, where again, because the Lord was with him, he is put in charge of all the other prisoners. While Joseph was in jail he interpreted the dreams of two men, a cupbearer and a baker, whom Pharaoh had placed under custody. Two years later, Pharaoh has two consecutive dreams: the first, of seven plump and attractive cows eaten by seven that were ugly and thin, and the second of seven ears of grain, plump and good, followed by seven thin and blighted. The cupbearer remembers Joseph, who correctly interpreted his own dream two years prior, and thus Joseph was brought out of jail and to Pharaoh. Joseph interprets the dreams, telling Pharaoh that they represented seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine, and advises Pharaoh to appoint a wise and discerning man to oversee the storage of one-fifth of the grain during the years of plenty. To this, Pharaoh agrees, appointing Joseph as that man. And this brings us to the following set of verses.
And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, “Bow the knee!” Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt.– Genesis 41:41-43
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.– Genesis 41:46-49
The seven years of plenty that occurred in the land of Egypt came to an end, and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.”
So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.– Genesis 41:53-57
Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished by reason of the famine. And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that they bought. And Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.” And Joseph answered, “Give your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.” So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the donkeys. He supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year. And when that year was ended, they came to him the following year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent. The herds of livestock are my lord’s. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our land. Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh. And give us seed that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.”– Genesis 47:13-19
So Joseph, though hated by his countrymen and beginning his life in Egypt as a slave, eventually becomes the ruler of all the land of Egypt under Pharaoh. At thirty years old, he begins his service, storing grain in great abundance, even to the point that it is unmeasurable. And when the famine comes and people begin to cry out to Pharaoh for bread, he says this: Go to Joseph. And not only do the people of Egypt go to Joseph for bread, but even all the earth comes to Egypt, to Joseph, to buy grain.
From the beginning, Joseph is already given authority over all the land of Egypt, yet here we see something even further. The famine is so severe that the people give all their money, then all their livestock, then eventually all their land and even their own bodies for food. To whom? To Joseph. Eventually the whole earth is under the headship of one man. How? He had all the food. Go to Joseph.
What does the New Testament say about it?
Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.– Matthew 26:3-4
But emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.– Philippians 2:7
Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli,– Luke 3:23
And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,– Ephesians 1:22
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”– John 6:26-27
There are many parallels to be found between Joseph’s life and the life of Jesus. Jesus, like Joseph, was hated and plotted against by His countrymen. He came into the world (which Egypt often typifies) as a bond-servant. He began His ministry at the age of thirty. In His resurrection, God placed all things under His feet, making Him head over all. Lastly, and most importantly to this post, He has food. Real food.
So what does this picture say about Christ?
You want to know how the Lord becomes the ruler of all the earth? He has real food. Not food that perishes, but food that endures to eternal life. It’s not because of His love, nor His righteousness, nor miracles of power and might. But his ruling is wonderful in this way: He rules because He alone has food. Food that nourishes. Food that strengthens. Food that sustains and endures to eternal life. When you do not have food, you quickly realize how little other things matter. There is a saying that roughly goes: Every society is nine meals away from anarchy. When there is no food, people are willing to give everything to get it. Their money, their livestock, their lands, and even their own bodies. But even if you are willing to give all, there needs to be someone who can give food in return! In that time of famine, what does Pharaoh say to the people? Go to Joseph! He has unmeasurable stores of grain. This is who Christ is. He can gain our money, our possessions, our living, and our very lives, because He is the only one who can satisfy our real need. Go to Christ! He has a boundless storehouse of grain.
What does this mean for me as a Christian?
We need to appreciate the power of food. The power of nourishment. When someone comes into contact with you, they should be able to sense that you have real food. People are able to give themselves fully to Christ when they receive real food. This is how Christ will gain the whole earth for Himself. He’s the only one with the food. We don’t need to win the world out of our own storehouses, out of our own ideas or efforts. But we just need to learn how to be a good cook. How to bring people to the storehouse that is Christ. May our living reflect the cry of the psalmist, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” (Psalm 34:8).
Have any inspirations or questions about the content of the article? Or do you just want to say hello and introduce yourself? We’d love to hear from all our readers! Leave a comment or send an email to email@example.com with the title of this post in the subject line. If you are burning to engage with us, but don’t know what to say, here are some questions that could be a help:
- The Lord will gain the world through “real food.” Is there any “real food” that has been sustaining you in recent times? Is there someone in your life with whom you can share that “real food”?
- The Egyptians didn’t give their land and their own selves right away, but rather had a few steps. Likewise, we often do not give ourselves wholly to the Lord all at once. What were some “steps” you had in your own walk with the Lord?
- Just like Pharaoh says, “Go to Joseph,” the Father says “Go to Christ.” What is one way we can grow to have Christ as all our delight, just as the Father has all His delight in Him?