“9 Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11 I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute. “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. 13 Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”14 Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. 15 And he kissedall his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.16 When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased.17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, 18 and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’19 “You are also directed to tell them, ‘Do this: Take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come. 20 Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.’”21 So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey. 22 To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels[b] of silver and five sets of clothes. 23 And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey.
“You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me…I will provide for you there…” (10,11).
Almost thirty years ago, as I was on the cusp of leaving the church I was serving in Leeds, to throw myself into leading a church plant in Boston Spa full time, I was preaching through the life of Elijah, and I remember these words seeming to ‘light up’:
“Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there” (3,4).
“…to feed you there.”
It was F.B.Meyer who helped me to see that God will provide wherever He guides. If He says , ‘Go there’, He will provide for you there. God will never send you where His grace cannot keep you, and where His provision cannot reach you.
As in the Joseph story, God’s provision can be surprising, and it is abundant. He does far more than we can ask or imagine. For both Elijah and Joseph’s family, this provision came in the midst of “famine”. However unpromising our current circumstances may appear, we serve the God of super-abundance.
Throughout this chapter we see Joseph’s desire for his family to be close to him (4,9,10). His brothers felt his love for them, and were freed up to respond to him (15). As I intimated yesterday, in the story of each of our lives, the Lord wants us to draw near to Him and He’ll draw near to us (James 4:8a).
I have just finished reading the biography of Eugene Peterson, and I discovered that Eugene repeatedly said he wanted to be a ‘saint’ more than anything else. Of course, I’m sure he knew that, Biblically speaking, all believers are ‘saints’. But I think he was saying something else. He wanted to live prayerfully – to have an unhurried life of communion with God and attentiveness to God.
When we draw near to God, He draws near to us, and we have more than all we need. In proximity to Him there is also provision.