Then Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for every man of the Egyptians sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. So the land became Pharaoh’s. – Genesis 47:20
The seven-year famine foretold by God through Pharaoh had been going on for a few years at this time. The people had bought all the food they could with money until the money was no more. Once the money was gone, Joseph suggested that the people sell him their land in exchange for the food. Eventually the people would sell themselves into slavery to Pharaoh just to have enough food to eat. However, Joseph possessed God-given wisdom and established a law that allowed the people to retain 80% of the harvest yield while giving the remainder to Pharaoh. Even though the people were indentured servants of the king, their prime minister didn’t treat them like abject slaves.
Although the story eventually ends with a godly outcome of the famine breaking, people surviving because of Joseph’s wisdom, and the region producing crops again, I have to stop at this point in the story (Gen. 47:20) and rethink the actions of the people. Now, it’s hard to say what any given person would do in a land devastated by a seven-year drought, especially if they knew ahead of time from God that it was coming. However, the destitution of ancient Egypt is not so far-fetched today as some would think. Famine strikes around the world all the time. People starve and die from it.
Jesus even warned us that in the closing days of the Age of Grace, there would be famines in numerous places around the earth, which is only part of the beginnings of sorrows. Our fresh water sources are either drying up globally or being polluted beyond use. Food shortages are coming in the near future whether through natural or man-made disasters like war. People are going to go hungry. Crime will escalate as people try to feed themselves and their families. The situation will get ugly. On top of this during the great tribulation, people will be in worse conditions that what we are heading into in just the next few years. The situation gets more complicated for people in that day because the anti-christ will require people to take his mark or name or number of his name to even buy food or else die!
Could you imagine the mind-set of the ancients when the grain ran out and had no money or any other tangible to barter for food???? They would eventually sell themselves out for food! The Hebrews, Israel and family, didn’t worry about provisions because God through Joseph set up a plan to provide daily rations and to give his family the best land in Egypt! God blessed them and provided for them without worry or concern of dying while the Egyptians and Canaanites resorted to the same self-debasement of Jacob’s brother, Esau, who sold his birthright for a bowl of beans.
Now, let’s apply this idea to you and me. Economic times are tough for many right now and creating somewhat similar situations around the world, even here in the USA. On a related note, the times are causing people to debase themselves physically but also spiritually. People are willing to do anything, and I mean anything, to stay alive and survive. However, for some reason, they don’t want to trust in God and receive His salvation that would ensure them eternal life. I believe it comes down to the notion stated by Paul, ” For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:18-21). Do you see the emphasis on their bellies being their gods because they think on earthly things only?
We have to put our heart on God and lay up eternal treasures by converting sinners into believers through the leading, power, and anointing of the Holy Spirit. We must put our trust in God and rely upon His provision. We cannot afford to sell out to the world for a piece of bread. Satan tried to tempt Jesus with bread after a 40-day fast but was rebuffed with the Word of God. Food is needed to help keep the body alive, but man does not live on bread alone but on EVERY WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God. Think about it. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t become enslaved to lusts and earthly desires.
Father, how tempting it is at times during this fasting to just lay hold of a piece of food and chomp down on it. Sinking my teeth into some big tasty steak would be momentarily satisfying to my belly, but it would rob me of the quiet and personal time I have to spend with you. It amazes me how the enemy will tempt us when we take time away from the things of this world in order to spend it with you. Normal everyday things that are usually taken for granted soon become interesting and a source of curiosity. However, I thank You that through the power of Your Spirit, I’ve been able to maintain a steady course on this extended fast. It’s provided me the time to hear from You and draw ever nearer to You at the same time. Please continue to lead and guide me in this life while helping others find the narrow gate to the narrow path and onto the highway of holiness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.