The story of the famine was read with new light this morning. I was exposed to a fairly capitalistic mindset all through my growing-up years. The theory being the market would correct itself if left to itself. Sometimes, to fit everything into a political “bucket”, we tend to throw the baby out with the bath water (the baby being the entire counsel of the Word of God). The new testament says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof…” 2 Timothy 3:16 Therefore, I don’t have any loyalty to a particular party if God’s precepts leak over a political line.
Of course, these events must be held to context. We must consider the circumstances surrounding the events at the time. There were little to no checks and balances in Pharaoh’s government. He was deemed a god and only had to utter the word and it was made law. He extended the same privilege to Joseph as his second in command. Joseph was appointed to organize the provisioning in response to his interpretations of Pharaoh’s dreams. When the famine started to make its impact, he was approached by many of the Egyptian livestock/land owners to take whatever they had in exchange for food when they had no more money to give. When he’d exhausted their livestock in exchange, he enacted the following:
Genesis 41:20 So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for all the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe on them. The land became Pharaoh’s.
In turn, he asked for their service and made the following command:
Genesis 41:23 Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh. Now here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. 24 And at the harvests you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones.”
The takeaway for me is that government intervention is not always detrimental to a culture or economy. In fact, most of the government systems I’ve lived under have deemed it necessary at one period or another. As a Christian, the comfort comes with the knowledge that our leaders are seeking God and acknowledge Him in the course of their actions. That’s not easy to determine. We live in a very pluralistic society. Most of the pluralism encompasses some form of god and almost always, Mammon (money) The Bible says you can’t serve both and money makes a horrible task master. There’s a better way. Joseph’s answer to Pharaoh when asked about his ability to interpret dreams follows:
Genesis 41:16 Joseph answered Pharaoh, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”
This was the key to Joseph’s success. He also lived in a land of pluralism. Pharaoh’s priests were certainly not servants of the Most High God. However, he always held to what he knew to be true in the midst of very difficult circumstances and God honored him. May we seek to vote in leaders of our nation that do the same.