Genesis 47:13-15

13 Now there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished because of the famine.  14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, for the grain which they bought; and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15 So when

the money failed in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the  Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us bread, for why should we die in your presence? For the money has failed.”

This is a story about Joseph who became the pharaoh’s right-hand man during the time of seven years of prosperity and the seven years of famine. You'll notice that there are similarities between Joseph's time, during the famine, and our current economic situation.

Look closely at what was going on at that time because of the famine. You will need to read the whole story in its entirety in order to get the full picture. Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan as payment for the grain which they bought. Then Joseph brought the money into the pharaoh’s house. When the money failed in Egypt, which is similar to what's happening today, Joseph did something to prosper during the famine.

During this time the people needed bread to eat. Something that you will want to pay attention to really closely is in found in verse 15 where the people said, “should we die in your presence, for the money has failed.” This is pretty similar to what's happening in today's society where money is actually failing. Not failing to the point where it's become completely worthless but its value has become extremely diminished these days. How many of you find it increasingly difficult to come up with either the mortgage or rent? How many of you have noticed that food is becoming more expensive and there's less of it in their packages when you go to the grocery store? In this context, when money failed it simply means that people didn’t have any more money to sustain themselves.

This is one of those cases in the Bible where money has actually failed. Money isn’t everything is it? You can’t eat money, and for them money is no longer available or lost its value to the point where they couldn’t even buy food. Only God can take care of their needs in times of famine.

Can you remember a time in our economy when just the father would work and that was good enough to take care of the entire family? Even though the man of the house had a wife and maybe 4 or 5 kids to take care of, it really wasn’t much of a problem to take care of them financially. It was also common for the mother to stay home during that time to take care of the kids and the household. Compare that to today’s economy and you will find that it's not uncommon for both parents to be working in order to provide for their family, and in some cases the kids have to contribute as well.

Many of the young people today are finding it very difficult to go out on their own. Parents back in the 80’s or even sooner than that, taught their kids how survive in the world so that when they were 18 years old they could spread their wings and go out and be on their own. Finances were not really an issue to be concerned about back then.

Today it’s common for young people to be forced to pool their resources with a roommate in order to survive financially. Many parents are giving their children the option to stay home until they have accumulated a certain amount of wealth in order to get their own place and provide for their own transportation and food. I’ve heard a number of fathers suggesting that their kids stay with them until they were financially confident that they could stand on their own two feet.

Pooling family resources is not uncommon today. In fact, it’s a smart way to teach your kids how to be out on their own and practise paying rent, buying food, and covering a number of expenses. Once they realize how tough it is while living at home, they will get the picture how much it takes when trying to do it on their own. This is just one way of practising being a good steward of money. It also gives young people the chance to invest more of their money so that it grows for them before they go out on their own.

Back to the story of Joseph. During tough times the people are begging the Pharaoh, more specifically Joseph, to give them bread just so that they can survive. One can only speculate that what they had experienced was a total economic failure because of a drought. This famine that caused money to decline had affected everyone's lives. Joseph knew that this famine was coming and that's why in the seven years prior to the famine he harvested and stored all the grains and kept a seven year supply. Because God was with Joseph he knew that there would be seven years of prosperity and seven years of a famine, as well as how to make it through the famine. In fact, Egypt would prosper because of the famine, all because God favoured Joseph.

The scenario in this particular Scripture very much resembles what we are experiencing today. Not to alarm you, but some economists are saying that we have not even begun to experience the worst of this crisis yet. Some speculate that the worst part of the economic downturn is yet to come upon us. If this happens, what are Christians going to do if we haven’t got our finances in line with God?

Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land. By having enough grain, Joseph was able to sell that grain to people so that they would be able to survive. Was Joseph smarter than everyone else? Was he just fortunate? Did he have better financial skills?

It was Joseph's dependence on God and God’s wisdom that actually allowed him to prosper during that time, as we see in the following scripture:

Genesis 39:3

“And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand.”

This also applied to Joshua many years after Joseph who was under the Mosaic Law,

Joshua 1:8

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

God prospered His children with favour, which put them in a position to succeed and create wealth, just like Abraham before the time of Joseph.

Joseph, because of honouring God, and by virtue of knowing Yahweh, had insight into prosperity without knowing perfectly how to prosper. He simply did as God directed. This made him look like a genius. Joseph could have taken things to the extreme and basically charged triple the amount of grains that the people were purchasing. In a nutshell, Joseph was in a position to take advantage of this famine by charging for the grains that he had in store because of its high demand.

Let us all draw closer to Christ and allow Him to be our source of prosperity. His insight will put us into a position to deal wisely in this world.

Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Faith News Niagara and Joshua Ray are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


This article was an excerpt from “Renewing the Mind; Seeing Money From A Different Perspective.”

This book is now available on for Kindle readers.

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December 2015