Treasure in your sacks! Have you found it? Have you discovered blessing in an unexpected place? Let’s review a well-known story. I hope you’ll take time to read it in Genesis 37 -50.
Joseph, a favored son of Jacob, annoyed his ten older brothers—because his father loved him more and because he related his dreams indicating someday they would bow to him. They plotted to kill him. Whoa! That’s some intense sibling rivalry!
Reuben intervened, suggesting they throw him into a pit. He intended to rescue him later. Seeing a caravan of Ishmaelite merchants traveling to Egypt, Judah proposed selling the boy—just seventeen—and they did. They’d stripped the colorful coat their father had made him, killed a goat, and dipped the coat in its blood, leading Jacob to conclude an animal had devoured him.
In Egypt the merchants sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh, who put him to work in his own house.
“The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered…When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned…the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph” (see Genesis 39:2-5).
Joseph was a handsome man and the wife of Potiphar went after him, but he resisted and fled. She lied to her husband, who had Joseph thrown into prison. All hope for a productive future could have died there, but the Lord still made the young man prosper.
Excuse the interruption but this situation reminds me of my all-time favorite quote. “Difficulty is the very atmosphere of miracle—it is miracle in its first stage. If it is to be a great miracle, the condition is not difficulty but impossibility” (Streams in the Desert, October 14).
Seeing circumstances from that perspective is life-changing. My difficult place is miracle in its first stage. When it reaches impossibility, I know it will be a great miracle indeed!
Oh, that we trusted God like that! To believe he’s working when we see hopelessness! To count on him when the night is dark and the path obscure! To expect a miracle when despair cancels dreams!Oh, that we trusted God like that! To believe he’s working when we see hopelessness! To count on him when the night is dark and the path obscure! To expect a miracle when despair cancels dreams! Click To Tweet
Back to our story. When the Pharaoh’s butler and baker landed in prison for offending the king, both had a mysterious dream the same night. The Lord gave Joseph wisdom to interpret. In three days the baker would be put to death but the butler would be restored to his position. Joseph asked him to intercede for him to Pharaoh. He forgot and another two years passed. And then…
Baffling dreams unnerved the king—seven skinny cows eating up seven fat cows and seven thin ears of corn consuming seven full ears.
The butler remembered that guy he’d met in prison and the king sent for him. Joseph said the dreams foreshadowed seven years of abundance, followed by seven years of severe famine. He recommended storing grain during the plentiful seasons to feed the people during famine and suggested selecting a wise man to oversee the process.
The ruler chose Joseph to be governor over all the land of Egypt, second only to himself in authority.
When famine struck, people streamed into Egypt to purchase grain. And along came Joseph’s jealous brothers, bowing before a man they didn’t recognize. He knew them but didn’t let them know.
Joseph accused them of being spies and demanded they bring the youngest brother, Benjamin, to prove they were truthful—that they’d come to buy food. After ordering one of them—Simeon—to be bound and kept until they returned, he gave instructions to fill their sacks with corn and to put every man’s money back in his sack. Imagine the shock and terror when they emptied their sacks and found the silver.
Hearing their story and the demand to see Benjamin, Jacob wouldn’t allow it. But when their grain ran out, he agreed to send him, along with a gift of balm, honey, spices, myrrh, pistachio nuts, almonds, money to purchase more grain, and the silver found in their sacks.
The expectation: seeing Benjamin would convince the ruler they’d been truthful. He’d release Simeon, and all would return home with sufficient grain and live happily ever after.
They didn’t expect Joseph to have them for a meal in his house. What could that mean? Afraid, they explained to his steward they’d found the money but didn’t know who put it in their sacks. He said, “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks: I received your silver” (Genesis 43:23). He brought Simeon to them.
Please read the rest of the story—Joseph later revealing his identity, the brothers’ response, and the joyful reunion with his aged father.
I love that thought: treasure in your sacks. For the guilt-ridden brothers, the treasure triggered fear.
Let’s consider it from another perspective. You’re expecting the ordinary…and suddenly you find something unexpected—a treasure! Blessing in an unexpected place. Everything changes. Dreariness turns to joy. Desolation turns to hope.
The brothers found a treasure greater than silver. They found forgiveness. Instead of seeking vengeance for their unthinkable cruelty that wasted years of his life, Joseph saw God’s purpose in all of it. No waste. Only God’s purpose.
“And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you…But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God…” (Genesis 45:5-8).
After their father died, the brothers worried Joseph would hold a grudge and seek vengeance. He said, “‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.’ And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:19-21).
That looks like forgiveness to me.
Entrusting ourselves to God never leads to disappointment. It always leads to treasure exceeding our expectation.Entrusting ourselves to God never leads to disappointment. It always leads to treasure exceeding our expectation. Click To Tweet
Have you looked in your sack lately? You might find an unexpected treasure!
Please leave a comment about how Sovereign God worked in your life in a surprising way, giving a hurtful situation a favorable outcome—a treasure. And I’d be grateful if you’d share this with your friends!
(Scriptures from NIV)
© Dianne Barker 2019