“So 10 of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt.” (Genesis 42:3)
Famine devastated Canaan as much as it did all the other regions around it. Year by year it intensified. Jacob heard there was food in Egypt, so he gathered his sons and told them to go to Egypt to buy food. He sent 10 of them, all but Benjamin, for fear something might happen to him, since he was the youngest and only remaining son of his wife Rachel.
The journey to Egypt was about 150 miles. Each brother likely led two donkeys each to help transport grain back to Canaan. So likely they made 15 miles a day. This means it took them about 10 days to get there.
Ten days of walking all day long gave them a lot of time to think. Can you imagine what some of their thoughts were about? We aren’t told specifically, but what would you think about? They were going to Egypt. Years earlier they sold their brother Joseph to Ishmaelite traders who intended to sell him in Egypt as a slave. Joseph was basically “dead” to them, for all they knew, but they had to have known that he could still be alive as a slave in Egypt. Surely they wondered. For at least some of them there may have been some remorse for what they did.
These 10 men had no idea what was coming.
The dream they had hated was about to come true. A young, brash Joseph had told them of his dream that his sheaf of grain stood upright, and all their sheaves bowed down to his. When they stood before Joseph, they did not know it was Joseph, and they all bowed down to him. They never saw it coming.
This reality points us to an important truth. These brothers did not know that God was at work redemptively and sovereignly in all this. We may at times see how God is working, but we don’t always. The fact is that God is at work in the background accomplishing His purposes whether we see it or not, whether we know it or not. Our inability to see it or know it does not nullify that truth. Thus, we can be confident that God is at work achieving His purposes, and thus we can trust Him.
Lord, We thank You that You are working to achieve Your purposes, whether we see it or not. Help us to walk before You in trust. Amen.