Genesis 41: 47-53, “Fruit in the Life of Joseph”
“And in the seven plenteous years the earth brought forth by handfuls. And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. And Joseph gathered corn as the sand of the sea, very much, until he left numbering; for it was without number. And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah the priest of On bare unto him. And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction. And the seven years of plenteousness, that was in the land of Egypt, were ended.” Genesis 41:47-53
As God warned Pharaoh, in Genesis 41:1-8, in two frightening dreams, which the magicians and wise men could not correctly interpret, that a severe famine was coming, and how Joseph correctly interpreted the two dreams, the two dreams of Pharaoh start to happen. For seven years the earth brought plenty of food exactly how Joseph correctly interpreted the two dreams. As we read the Bible we must remember that every word, of every prophecy, will come to pass, whether or not the wise men of this world correctly understand it, and that the man of God, who correctly interprets the scripture, will be rewarded in the end.
For seven years, exactly as Joseph had prophesied, the land of Egypt brought forth the fruit of the ground in so much abundance that Joseph stopped numbering the quantity that he had stored up. God is one who causes the land to bear fruit as He so decrees it. Like the ant, Joseph stored up food, as God led him, during the time of plenty, in preparation for the time of want. “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” Proverbs 30:25.
Could it be that during the time of his confinement that Joseph studied, by observation, nature, and learned how to lead men?
Joseph, a Jew, due to the envy of his brethren, was rejected, temporarily, by his own people, had a Gentile bride, and bore fruit. The Lord Jesus, a Jew, due to the envy of His brethren, was rejected, temporarily, by His own people, has a Gentile bride, and bears fruit.
John 1:10-12, “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”
Romans 11:11, “I say then, Have they [the Jews] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them [the Jews] to jealousy.”
Ephesians 5:23-25, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
God is using the life of Joseph, a type of Christ, to give us, Gentiles in the church, because of His love and promises towards the Jews, a clear picture of what He is going to do with His chosen people in the last days. Like Joseph, the Lord Jesus, loves His brethren and, like Joseph, will reconcile Himself to them in the last days
The first son, Manasseh, means that God caused Joseph to forget his toil and His father's house. I think this meaning can help us. The Lord Jesus can help us in our troubles.
The second son, Ephraim, means that God caused him to be fruitful. I think that this meaning can help us also. The Lord Jesus can help us be fruitful in our toils of life. It is obvious that Joseph believed that God caused the hardship and the blessings. We need to remember that. In this life God will give us hardship and blessings. Job 1:21, “And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return hither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
In Josephs era, and in our era, this world is full of temptations of the flesh, heartache, anxiety, distress, and times of unjust actions from others. We need to reminded of the words of Paul the apostle in order to encourage us in our time of toils, hardships, anxieties, and distress. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
With a wife, Asenath the daughter of Potipherah, God is starting the family of Joseph and eventually the tribe of Ephraim, and Manasseh. Proverbs 20:7 “The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.” The integrity of Joseph, as with the integrity of Job, has wonderful fruit.
God is starting to abundantly bless Joseph for his life of integrity and his close walk with God. Throughout the story of the life of Joseph we can see the results of the fruit of the Spirit. Joseph is an example for every believer who will decide to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Galatians 5:22-23 & 25, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law… If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
At this juncture we need to consider the part of the prophecy of Zechariah in Zechariah 10:5-10.
Zechariah 10:6, “ And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, and I will bring them to place them; for I will have mercy upon them: and they shall be as though I had not cast them off: for I am the LORD their God, and will hear them.” And, Zechariah 10:10, “I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt, and gather them out of Assyria; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon; and place shall not be found for them.” This prophecy is literal, is very clear in interpretation, cannot be applied, or given, to the church, and has not been fulfilled yet in any sense of the word.
Among many passages in the Old Testament prophets, the Lord Jesus prophesied that one day the house of Joseph would be gathered a second time out of Egypt, and bring them back to the land of Israel, “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:31
Exactly as Joseph prophesied that after seven years of plenty there would be a famine of seven years comes to past. I am reminded of the words of King Solomon when he said, “In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.” Ecclesiastes 7:14
God brings prosperity, and adversity, in everyone’s life for a particular reason. When adversity comes our way, and surely it shall, then at that time we need to consider what God is trying to tell us and to let us know that, in the end, all of this life apart from God, and His perfect will, is what we should do.
And, in conclusion, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13