Summary: Joseph and the Famine. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email:

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Reading: Genesis chapter 47 verses 11-31.


• A husband came down to breakfast and was delighted to hear his wife say;

• “Darling you are a model husband!”

• He was so encouraged by that remark that it put him in ‘on a high’ all morning;

• “Darling you are a model husband!”

• At lunchtime he decided to look up the word model in his desk dictionary;

• As he found the page and began reading the description his mood change instantly.

• It said;

• ‘Model, a small plastic imitation of the real thing”.

The word ‘model’ actually has several meanings:

• Including someone who is ‘exemplary, commendable, admirable, excellent ’.

• In that sense of the word Joseph in this passage is a model leader.

• There are traits and characteristics that we should take note of;

• Joseph was an authentic, genuine leader.

• And in him we see qualities;

• That each one of us would do well to copy into our own lives.


• The word "integrity" comes from the same root word as integration.

• Integrity is when you integrate faith with your living.

Quote: Warren Wiersbe:

“A person with integrity is not divided (that's duplicity)

or merely pretending (that's hypocrisy).

He or she is 'whole': life is 'put together,' and things are working together harmoniously.

People with integrity have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. Their lives are open books.”

• Whether in slavery, in prison or now as prime minister;

• As you examine the life of Joseph, you have to be impressed by his integrity!

• Whatever backdrop you put him against;

• He remained true to himself and more importantly to his God.

In the passage before us this morning we also see Joseph’s leadership skills;

Quote: George Barna:

“Leadership is the ability to put the plans into practice, and to accomplish the specified objectives through the skilful management of people, time, and tangible resources. A good leader is one who is able to motivate people; one who is capable of making good decisions, even under pressure or in conditions of uncertainty; one who can guide people through actions as well as words”.

• If you want a biblical example of one who fulfilled all that and more;

• You need look no further than Joseph in this chapter.

(1). Joseph and the famine (verses 13-19):

(1). He traded grain for their money (vs 13-14)

“There was no food, however, in the whole region because the famine was severe; both Egypt and Canaan wasted away because of the famine. 14 Joseph 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.”


It was reported that eleven millionaires went down on the Titanic.

• Major A. H. Peuchen;

• Left $300,000.00 in money, jewellery and securities in a box in his cabin.

• “The money seemed a mockery at that time,”

• He later said. “I picked up three oranges instead.”

In a time of famine you cannot eat gold!

• Values change;

• In the time of famine, a piece of bread could buy you a bag of gold!


Most of us have no idea what it is like to be really hungry:

• We might use the expression ‘I’m starving!’

• But the truth is far from that.

• I came across these statistics – they are American not British;

• But I would guess that there is not too much a difference between them and us.

• People who starve to death each year: 11 million

• Overweight U. S. adults: 34 million

• Average calories consumed daily,

• North Americans: 3500; Africans: 2100

• People who are continually hungry; Ethiopia: 20%, Sudan: 20%, Mozambique: 30-40%,

• American adults currently on diets: 19%

Famine came to the lands of Egypt and Canaan:

• Joseph therefore held their lives, their future, in the palm of his hand.

• After all, Joseph had not only built large storage granaries, but he also carried the keys.

Note: That the grain did not belong to Joseph, but to Pharaoh.

• Joseph cannot be condemned for selling the grain rather than giving it away

• Because it was not his to give.

• And any the profit he made;

• Was not for himself but for Pharaoh his employer.

• His duty as an employee, was to further Pharaoh’s interests,

• And this he did very well.

What I like about Joseph in this story is:

• He must have been tempted to rip off the public!

• To stash away some of the money he was making for himself.

• Or he might have been tempted to look after his own;

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