so joseph went in and told pharaoh, “my father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of canaan. they are now in the land of goshen.” and from among his brothers he took five men and presented them to pharaoh. pharaoh said to his brothers, “what is your occupation?” and they said to pharaoh, “your servants are shepherds, as our fathers were.” they said to pharaoh, “we have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of canaan. and now, please let your servants dwell in the land of goshen.” then pharaoh said to joseph, “your father and your brothers have come to you. the land of egypt is before you. settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land. let them settle in the land of goshen, and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.” [genesis 47:1-6]
God is perfectly faithful. joseph was not perfect, but he was an incredibly faithful man. if we were to read this passage out of context or truth, it could be tempting to think that God rewarded joseph’s family with this land solely based on joseph’s strong faith.
this prosperity gospel mindset is dangerous. your faithfulness is not the main correlation to material blessing. “more faith” is not going to get you that promotion, a girlfriend, or a bigger house. getting these things is a grace from God. there is absolutely nothing we could do to earn God’s grace. we are only a recipient of grace because Jesus Christ suffered, died, and rose again to redeem us to God.
essentially, strong faith does not make for an easy or materially abundant life.
consider joseph’s past. he is incredibly faithful to God. he flees from potiphar’s wife. he interprets pharaoh’s dream by crediting God, not his own giftings. yet, God allows joseph to be thrown in a pit, sold into slavery, and imprisoned in the king’s prison. but God was with joseph (genesis 39:2-3, 21, 23).
see, when are faithful to God, we may not get comfortable lifestyles, but we grow in awareness of God’s comforting presence. joseph wasn’t faithful to God to try to get good goshen land. his desires to be near his family or at peace with his brothers were not the reasons that he trusted God. he trusted God because God was with him.
yet God, in his grace, softened the pagan pharaoh’s heart to give joseph’s family the best of the land. this is just another example of God’s presence remaining with joseph in miraculous ways.
in what ways are you diligently searching for God’s material blessing and undervaluing his presence? what does it look like for you to surrender those earthly things to the Lord? he promises an abundant life in him that far surpasses the joy of earthly things or comfort (john 10:10).
Lord, help us to believe that you are the best gift we can receive. as we sojourn this broken world today, keep us from seeking you to get things from you. please satisfy us with your presence, Lord. thank you for wanting to draw near to us. make us aware of your presence, Holy Spirit. in Jesus’ name, amen.