Life of Joseph – Part 38 – Managing the Famine

Joseph still had a job to do.

I have a feeling he would rather have packed up his wife and children and taken a leave of absence and gone to Goshen, spent time with his elderly father and gotten reacquainted with his extended family.

But Joseph had to manage Egypt’s resources so the entire country didn’t die of starvation. The situation was dire. And the buck stopped with him.

And as we know from previous chapters in Joseph’s life, he had a great work ethic. He also knew God put him in this position at this particular time in Egypt’s history because of what God had deposited in him. It was his God-given opportunity and responsibility and he took it seriously.

So Joseph kept his priorities in order and continued managing the country during the famine.


– Our work is an opportunity from God to use the gifts He deposited in us for the good of the people around us.

– The way we do our job affects more people than we can imagine.

– Balancing work and family is not always simple, easy or fun.

– There is no free lunch.

– People facing a destitute situation are appreciative of a “hand-up” in order to have work to do so they can feed their families.


– How does my job/career utilize the gifts God deposited in me?

– How does my job/career benefit the people around me?

– Potentially how many people are affected by the work I do?

– When have I had a problem balancing work and family? Who/What determined my solution?

– When have I expected someone to give me something for nothing?

– When has someone given me a “hand-up” to help me get back on my feet?


Genesis 47:13-26 / Amplified Bible (AMP)

13 [In the course of time] there was no food in all the land, for the famine was distressingly severe, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan hung in doubt and wavered by reason of the hunger (destitution, starvation) of the famine.

14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan [in payment] for the grain which they bought, and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house.

15 And when the money was exhausted 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 very eyes? For we have no money left.

16 Joseph said, Give up your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for [them] if your money is gone.

17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and [he] gave them food in exchange for the horses, flocks, cattle of the herds, and the donkeys; and he supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year.

18 When that year was ended, they came to [Joseph] the second year and said to him, We will not hide from my lord [the fact] that our money is spent; my lord also has our herds of livestock; there is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands.

19 Why should we perish before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land in exchange for food, and we and our land will be servants to Pharaoh. And give us seed [to plant], that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.

20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field because of the overwhelming severity of the famine upon them. The land became Pharaoh’s,

21 And as for the people, he removed them to cities and practically made slaves of them [at their own request], from one end of the borders of Egypt to the other.

22 Only the priests’ land he did not buy, for the priests had a fixed pension from Pharaoh and lived on the amount Pharaoh gave them. So they did not sell their land.

23 Then Joseph said to the people, Behold, I have today bought you and your land for Pharaoh. Now here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land.

24 At [harvest time when you reap] the increase, you shall give one-fifth of it to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own to use for seed for the field and as food for you and those of your households and for your little ones.

25 And they said, You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in the sight of my lord; and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.

26 And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt—to this day—that Pharaoh should have the fifth part [of the crops]; it was the priests’ land only which did not become Pharaoh’s.


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