Summary: What Joseph did was to take steps to save the nation. He took steps to bring everything in Egypt under the authority of the throne. You can see this played out in these verses.
As I read the story of Joseph, I am convinced that he had his act together. He is a man who knows how to handle himself in all kinds of situations.
For the last few weeks, we have been covering the details of Joseph’s relationship with his brothers and his father. Those events are the primary emphasis of these chapters. But, it is easy to forget that while Joseph was dealing with his brothers, he was also managing a crisis in Egypt. By the time Joseph faces this time of trouble, he has become master of crisis management. Consider the trials he had already faced and overcome.
• His mother died while he was young.
• His family was in a state of constant upheaval.
• There was jealousy, hatred and infighting within his family.
• He was betrayed and sold into slavery by his brothers.
• He was lied on and falsely accused in Egypt.
• He was imprisoned.
• The butler, who promised to help him, forgot about him for two years.
• He was suddenly promoted to a position of prominence, power and responsibility.
• He suddenly finds himself occupied with preparing an entire nation to deal with a famine.
• In every crisis he faces, Joseph displayed exceptional wisdom and faith.
In this passage, we are allowed to witness how the Lord used Joseph to prevent a nation from descending into starvation and anarchy. We get the see Joseph use all his skills of Crisis Management.
Genesis 42:1-47:12 is a parentheses passage. As we pick up the story of Joseph today, we see that the verses we have read are a recap of Gen. 41:53-57. In that passage, the people are hungry and they come to Pharaoh for help. His advice to them is clear, “Go unto Joseph; what he saith to you, do,” Gen. 41:55. That is what the people did, and they survived that famine as a result. The people were brought to the end of themselves and of their own resources. They turned to Joseph because they knew there was no future apart from him.
What Joseph did was to take steps to save the nation. He took steps to bring everything in Egypt under the authority of the throne. You can see this played out in these verses.
• Joseph took control of their Money (v. 13-14): Joseph took control of all the money in the land. All of the people were placed on the same level. There were no longer rich people and poor people, there were just people. Every dime was brought under the control of the throne.
That is where our money needs to be as well. We should strive to bring every cent we possess under the control of the Lord. Let Him use it in His work as He sees fit.
• Joseph took control of their Possessions (v. 15-17): When the money ran out, the people traded their livestock and their possessions for food. Everything they possessed was brought under the control of the throne.
Shouldn’t the same thing be true in our lives? Everything we have should be dedicated to the glory of the Lord. If you possess anything that cannot be dedicated to the Lord to be used for His glory has no place in your life.