When the report was heard in Pharaoh’s house, “Joseph’s brothers have come,” Pharaoh and his servants were pleased. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: load your animals and go back to the land of Canaan. Take your father and your households and come to me, so that I may give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you may enjoy the fat of the land.’ You are further charged to say, ‘Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. Give no thought to your possessions, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’ ”
The sons of Israel did so. Joseph gave them wagons according to the instruction of Pharaoh, and he gave them provisions for the journey. To each one of them he gave a set of garments; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five sets of garments. To his father he sent the following: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and provision for his father on the journey. Then he sent his brothers on their way, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Do not quarrel along the way.”
So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. And they told him, “Joseph is still alive! He is even ruler over all the land of Egypt.” He was stunned; he could not believe them. But when they told him all the words of Joseph that he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. Israel said, “Enough! My son Joseph is still alive. I must go and see him before I die.”
Jesus Cleanses a Leper1
When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
Jesus Heals a Centurion’s Servant2
When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.” When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour. “
Oddly enough, it does not always matter where they come from. One young lady managed to trace every US president except one back to one common ancestor in England. Who is the one with different roots? It’s not the one you think.
The great rulers of Egypt were no different. Some of their greatest were not Egyptian. Joseph, the Hebrew slave became one that put them head and shoulders above all the nations in the area during the time of great famine. They were fortunate to have got him and from what I gather, they got a great deal on him as well, paying the price of a slave for the benefit of a national savior.
Somewhere along the way, they got over the fact that he was Hebrew and that he had not grown up in a royal household. They respected him for his character and the results he brought, rather than his pedigree. Because they chose to follow him, including Pharaoh himself, they were blessed. Their faith in Jospeh allowed them to flourish as a nation.
Jesus also called for faith. Like Joseph, he asked for faith from those beyond the boundaries of his home nation. Again, it was the outsiders that ended up teaching Israel what real faith looked like. The lepers – cast out from society – turned to Jesus for healing and found it. The Gentiles came to Him for healing and trusted in His power without needing to see it themselves. In Jesus’s own words: “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” What does it mean when the unbelieving heathens trust God more than God’s own chosen people?
It means God moves. There is a hope that we have in watching God work throughout history. Jesus taught us to love our enemies, partly because we are called to be a blessing to the world and a witness of God’s love and grace. But there is a side note as well. God has a way of blessing His people through their enemies eventually, but that blessing only gets through if we can stop fighting long enough to see where God is working. The gold of Egypt furnished the tabernacle, the Philistines gave sanctuary to Israel’s greatest king, and Egypt again would later provide refuge for the savior of the world, when the king of the Jews wanted Him dead.
Good leaders come from being capable followers. Those who cannot follow, struggle to lead. This cannot be more true for a Christian society, in whose case the leader only has authority insomuch as they are following Jesus, the true leader. We have no king but Jesus, and the best our politicians can aspire to is the level of prince (or perhaps vice-president in US terms). The true leader will always be Jesus, because He has not died and left us to our own devices. He is alive and is coming back to reclaim His kingdom.
What kind of leaders have blessed your life?
What kind of leader are you?
Who are you following?