“No taxation without representation” seemed far from the Egyptians’ lips during the great famine recorded in these chapters. The people were so hungry that they willingly gave Pharaoh all of their money for enough food to last them through the year. The next year, they had no money, but they came to Joseph and pleaded with him to help them and their starving children. So Joseph accepted their livestock as payment for a year’s worth of food. The famine prevailed yet again, and the people of Egypt willingly gave away themselves and their land to Pharaoh so they could feed their families.
I wonder if this is one of the first recorded taxes? Joseph gave them grain with the requirement that from then on, the people would turn over to Pharaoh one-fifth of their crops. (It sure would be nice if we only had to give 20% in taxes!)
What lengths would I go to in order to feed my family? The few times I have gone without food due to illness absolutely wiped me out. I can’t fathom what being truly hungry feels like…but today, in this country and all over the world, there are those who are facing the same kind of hunger that the Egyptians faced. We hear of fathers selling off their children into slavery and want to jump to conclusions about their lack of parenting skills, yet do we really have a heart for these people? Do we know what it is like to hear the cries of a hungry baby yet be unable to meet those basic needs?
God knows. He knew ahead of time about the famine (or global warming?) that would come upon the region. He gave Joseph the wisdom and foresight to prepare for the disaster, and because of his actions, untold numbers of bellies were fed. God knows about all the famines in my life. He knows my spiritual hunger. He discerns my empty, thirsty heart and sends a few Josephs my way to help me through these times.
Last weekend, the prayer and devotion time at my homeschool director’s meeting filled places inside of me that I didn’t even realize were empty. Sometimes my husband knows exactly when I need a hug to fill in my empty “love tank.” My daughter has a knack for rubbing the soreness out of my overly-anxious neck and takes it upon herself to come up to me and begin rubbing the pain away just when I need it. Today a very dear friend took it upon herself to be my Joseph when she loaned me a set of homeschooling math books so I could decide if I wanted to move my daughter up to the next level. When I take the time to think about it, I can see that God sends help my way every day. He can afford to. He’s the air traffic controller in my life and sees all the obstacles before I even know they are there. He is the Way, the Truth, the Light, and the Life Everlasting! He fills my cup. He fills my famines with more goodness than I could ever measure.