Inseparable from G-d’s love
Mikketz (It Came to Pass) B’resheet/Genesis 41:-44:17
Haftorah Reading: I Kings 3:15-4:1
Today our Torah portion continues with the story of Joseph in Egypt and his reunion with his brothers. We see his rise to power in Egypt after he was able to interpret the dreams of Pharaoh. In Genesis 42:7-8 we are told he was able to recognize his brothers when they came before him to request food for their families and flocks. Amazingly, he was able to control his emotions and allowed them to continue to explain their situation. They did not know before whom they had actually bowed down to make their petition for food. No doubt Joseph remembered the dreams he had shared with his brothers years earlier and was now seeing them actually happen. His brothers did attribute their present state to their actions against Joseph when they sold him into slavery.
The portion ends in Genesis 44:17 just before Judah began his impassioned plea to Joseph. This portion speaks to us of G-d’s hand at work in the lives of His people and should encourage us all as we pass through our days.
Now on to the question of the week. I want us to look at Genesis 43:1, “And the famine was heavy on the land.” In Hebrew this verse consists of only three main words, famine, heavy and land. The word for famine is used in modern Hebrew to express hunger. We see this word used often in scripture. Here it appears in the fulfillment of Pharaoh’s dream of the lean years which were foretold by Joseph in his interpretation. The idea of famine can be found throughout both the Hebrew scriptures and the Messianic scriptures. In your study time I hope you were able to find many of these scriptures yourself.
Some scriptures I will mention are II Samuel 24:13 and II Kings 6:25. Also in Genesis 12:10 we read where Avraham left Canaan and went to Egypt to escape a famine. Interestingly, in this verse the same words are used as in our verse today, but in a different order. In the Messianic scripture, in Acts 11:28, we see the word used again to describe a wide spread famine. There are a few examples of famines that occurred in the land of Israel. Famines occurred in other places as well, some described as covering the world.
The important point, other than the physical harm that resulted from these famines, was what G-d was saying to the people by allowing famines to strike the earth. What are we to learn from them? Are they only to be looked at in a physical way or is the message deeper than it seems on the surface?
In Amos 8:11-12 we see where famines can also indicate a spiritual problem. Amos tells us that a famine can be more than a hunger for bread or water. There can be a famine for hearing the words of the L-rd, but they will not find it.
Perhaps we see that same situation arising in our own day. We see G-d’s word twisted or ignored completely. We see His word changed or rearranged to say something G-d never intended it to say. We see His people forgetting His word to them and being swept away by ideas and thoughts that are foreign to what we as His people should be standing for.
The situations we are going through in our day may be the beginning of an exile, while not geographically displaced, we may find ourselves in a spiritual exile, living in a world that does not want to know the truth. We may find ourselves in an environment that rejects the values and traditions of our spiritual walk.
However, even in such a scenario we do have and can hold on to the words of Paul in Romans 8:35. He said in this verse, tribulation, distress, persecution or famine, nakedness, or danger cannot separate us from the love of the Messiah. In these times and the times to come G-d is still here with us. He loves us and will never leave us. This we can hold on to and come what may, we stand, for none of these can separate us from Him. (Romans 8:38-39)
So in our day, when we see famine in our world, the same famine of which Amos speaks, the question that comes to us is how do we respond? I pray we all will stand strong in His word in everything we face. Bless each of you these last two nights of Chanukah. Remember that small nation of Israel and how the Maccabees stood against the most powerful nation in the world at that time and were victorious.