When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.” (Genesis 41:55)
Joseph had spent 13 years (cf. Genesis 37:2, 41:46) being stolen out of the promised land of the Hebrews, away from his beloved father and his family. He had been enslaved, tempted, abused, thrown into jail and forgotten. Yet all he had done was consistently looked out for the welfare and blessing of others.
Now exalted to power, Joseph’s character still doesn’t change. The light that shined, shined in the darkness and now shines in the spotlight.
Moses then has only one instruction for the whole world:
“Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.”
Go to Joseph, do whatever he says! Well of course! Where else could we find such a gifted administrator, able to be a blessing to all even in the most unfortunate of circumstances? In his own household, he looked out for his older brothers. In Potiphar’s household he did so well that Potiphar worried for nothing except what choice of food he would have that day. In the prison, the keeper of the jail trusted him so much that all the other important prisoners were kept under his care. Now even Pharaoh recognizes such administrative gifts!
Go to Joseph, do whatever he says! Well of course! Where else could we find such a compassionate ruler? Despite the temptations and slavery he did things that only benefitted Potiphar and even his wife. In the jail – even with the agony of being unjustly imprisoned – he still goes so gently to his fellow prisoners and says, “Why are you upset?” (Genesis 40:7). Their interests outweigh his own. Even after being forgotten, all he thinks about is preserving the Egyptians from death (Gen 41:36).
Go to Joseph, do whatever he says!
And yet of course, Joseph is just a picture of the priestly king Jesus, who made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow (cf. Genesis 41:43), in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:7-11)
Jesus is the one who is the compassionate prince of all the earth; go to Him, do what He says! Imagine then, Joseph being just a pale shadow of the effective administrator that is Christ. Imagine then, Joseph just having a small fraction of Jesus’ compassion and passion for the well-being of others. If the whole earth could go to Joseph and trust him, how much more then should we not go to Jesus!
Why are you hesitant to go? Do you fear He does not know what to do for you in your situation? Fear not! Even in terrible temptation, in cruel suffering and in death He has kept a steady hand! Why are you hesitant to turn to Him daily? Do you fear that He will not understand, He will not sympathize or empathize with you? Do you fear He may be harsh to you? Fear not! He has such tender care for those whose faces are downcast and weary, nothing but gentleness for the heavy laden – a bruised reed He will not break, a smoking flax He will not quench. Fear not! Expect nothing but tender care and total provision for all our needs from Him – yet we must do whatever He says!
Mary, the mother of Jesus knew this well when, during that wedding at Cana, they ran out of wine, and she said: “Whatever He says, do” (John 2:5). And what happened when the servants did what Jesus said? Wine came – abundant wine, 210 litres of the finest wine – and there was joy, there was feasting, the once dry party sprang to life! That’s what happens when we go to Jesus and do what He says: blessings overflow to all – all are richly blessed! In Him and only in Him do the blessings of Abraham spread to all nations! Just like at Potiphar’s house, just like in the prison, just like for ancient Egypt and for that clever old Pharaoh who saw that “in this one is the Spirit of God” (cf. Genesis 41.38).
But our old friends, Jacob and sons, have yet to learn this lesson. And so the story continues…