“He called for a famine on the land of Canaan, cutting off its food supply. Then he sent someone to Egypt ahead of them— Joseph, who was sold as a slave” (Psalm 105:16-17).
The nation of Israel was in its infancy. In all, they were about 75 in number. They were living as strangers and nomads in the land of Canaan. They were “few in number, a tiny group of strangers in Canaan” (Psalms 105:12). But God had big plans for them. God intended to grow them into a strong and mighty nation, great both numerically and in character. He intended for them to possess the land where they now lived as wanderers. He had revealed His will, but His ways are beyond tracing out (Romans 11:33). Don’t be discouraged about what He is doing because of how He is doing it.
What did God need to do in order to bring His will for Israel into being? He needed to give Israel a place to grow, prosper, learn skills, and reproduce safely. He needed to put them under the protection of a larger, more advanced civilization for a time. He needed them in Egypt.
How did He do it? “Then he sent someone to Egypt ahead of them— Joseph, who was sold as a slave” (Psalm 105:17).
It looked as if Joseph’s evil brothers had sent him to Egypt. God had promised Joseph that he would be a great leader, ruling over his brothers. It looked as if God’s will was being thwarted by bad decisions. But God said that it was He who sent Joseph to Egypt. Joseph explained it to his brothers like this: “God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! ” (Genesis 45:7–8). God used seemingly adverse circumstances to position Joseph for receiving the promise.
How did God get Israel out of Canaan into Egypt? “He called for a famine on the land of Canaan, cutting off its food supply. (Psalm 105:16). He brought famine on the land, but first He prepared their deliverance. It was waiting for them in Egypt. What appeared to be a disaster and a tragedy drove them to God’s provision.
Father, when it seems that everything is working against me, remind me that, in truth, everything is working for me. (Romans 8:28)
“The strong hands of God twisted the crown of thorns into a crown of glory; and in such hands we are safe.” (Charles Williams )