By Mary Vee
Everything moved according to Joseph's directions. Egyptians built large buildings to store grain. No one was permitted to keep more than they needed. The entire country worked together to gather extra grain.
Sure, every once in a while, Joseph heard about some greedy person who kept more than they needed. He knew the importance of justice. If even one person kept extra grain and got away with it, others would follow. Joseph ordered consequences that were fair, but strong enough to helped Egyptians understand the need to store food.
One year, the baker surprised Pharaoh with a large platter of his favorite baked breads for his birthday. Pharaoh took in a deep breath. "Baker, you have tempted me with the finest of breads. Give me a portion, then divide the remains to others. And, Baker--"
The baker took a step back and cowered.
Pharaoh lowered his voice. "Never bake such indulgences unless I request it. Such request will not be made until the famine is over."
The baker bowed and obeyed.
Joseph celebrated his 37th birthday shortly before the seven years of great prosperity ended. He turned to his assistant. "The years have passed quickly."
The assistant looked at the many storehouses from the balcony. "Maybe you were wrong. Look at all this grain. There must be more than the sand in the sea. No one can count the grain anymore." He shuffled his feet. "What will we do with all this grain if there isn't a famine?"
Joseph smiled. "God is never wrong. If He said there would be a famine in seven years, then it will be so." He walked away laughing. "You worry too much. I'm going to play with my sons for the afternoon."
The assistant folded his arms. "Will you train Manasseh to follow in your steps? Will he speak of famine?"
Joseph shrugged. "He will be as God leads. God gave me Manasseh to help me forget all my troubles and my father's house. Ephraim, little Ephraim, has reminded me how God let me be fruitful even in a land I was sold as a slave. Now, I'm going to have some fun with my sons."
A week later a messenger came before the council. Pharaoh called his wise men to be quiet. Joseph leaned forward to hear the message. "The rains have stopped. All our irrigation ditches have dried up. The crops have wilted and died."
Joseph sighed. "The famine has begun."
No one spoke for several moments.
Pharaoh nodded to Joseph. "The interpretation is true. Go. Save Egypt from the famine."
Joseph knew the grain in the people's homes wouldn't last long. He called for the teams organized to head up food distribution. "Listen. The people will come soon asking for food. We must be ready."
Two weeks later Egyptians lined up to speak to Pharaoh. Each asked the same question: "What shall we do? Our families are hungry. There isn't any food." Pharaoh walked out to the balcony for all to see. He raised his hands to hush the crowd. "Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, do."
Did the people obey? Why did Pharaoh send the people to Joseph? Pharaoh could have taken credit for all the work by giving instructions. But he didn't. He let the people know Joseph was in charge of the food. Why did he do that? Click on the comment button to give your thoughts.