1 These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family: 2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah; 3 Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin; 4 Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher. 5 The descendants of Jacob numbered seventy in all; Joseph was already in Egypt.
6 Now Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died, 7 but the Israelites were exceedingly fruitful; they multiplied greatly, increased in numbers and became so numerous that the land was filled with them.
It really is the case that God buries His workers and carries on His work. After Joseph (who was such a great and gifted leader) was removed, the Old Testament ‘church’ exploded with numerical growth. This church started small (5), but it didn’t stay that way. How we need to take on board one of the early messages in 1 Corinthians; namely that we should place no human leader on a pedestal, be it ‘Paul’ or ‘Apollos’ or ‘Cephas’, or anyone else. At best, people are servants working in God’s field or on His building site. It is God Himself who gives the growth. He can do it without Joseph if He so chooses.
Ultimately, the growth of Israel in Egypt came about because it was God’s purpose (see e.g. Gen.12:1,2). God keeps His promises, but He does it in His own way and according to His own time-scale. So trust and patience will be required.
PRAYER: I ask for the faith and patience to walk in step with you, Lord – especially on those ‘quiet’ days when life is hard and nothing much seems to be happening.