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.”
so joseph bought all the land of egypt for pharaoh, for all the egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe on them. the land became pharaoh’s. as for the people, he made servants of them from one end of egypt to the other. only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had a fixed allowance from pharaoh and lived on the allowance that pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land. [genesis 47:13-22]
joseph now has the opportunity to take advantage of the egyptians. the position of power that he has been given could allow him to manipulate and take advantage of the situation for his personal gain, and yet, mercifully, he shows kindness, justice and humility.
he has told you, o man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? [micah 6:8]
in what ways have you been given an advantage, and have the opportunity to profit for yourself and point to yourself instead of taking less for yourself and blessing others? when you are put in a position of authority or power, even in a very small way, God is positioning you in a way that you might display his authority, his glory. as a leader: an older brother or sister, a discipler, a parent, a student-athlete, etc., God the Father is appointing you sovereignly so that you might diminish yourself and point to his son, Jesus Christ.
john answered, “a person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. you yourselves bear me witness, that i said, ‘i am not the Christ, but i have been sent before him.’ the one who has the bride is the bridegroom. the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. therefore this joy of mine is now complete. he must increase, but i must decrease.” [john 3:27-30]
when you are given authority–rejoice in–and point to Christ!