Day 31

The Return to Egypt

from the Genesis reading plan


Genesis 43:1-34, Genesis 44:1-34, Genesis 45:1-28, John 12:25, Philippians 2:5-11

BY Erin Davis

I’ve always been fascinated by geodes. They’re unremarkable on the outside; to the untrained eye, they just look like rocks (often ugly ones). But crack a geode open and you’ll find your breath has been taken away. Each one is filled with a tiny city of crystals that shine and sparkle in a spectacular variety of colors and formations.

There are many geodes in Joseph’s story, moments that are unremarkable at first, even ugly. But as the Bible cracks each one open and all is revealed, our breath is taken away by the beauty God brings about in the midst of the ugly and unremarkable.

One geode is the silver Joseph snuck back into the sacks of his brothers. Genesis 42 records: “Joseph then gave orders to fill their containers with grain, return each man’s silver to his sack, and give them provisions for their journey. This order was carried out” (v.25). For Joseph, this was a moment of generosity. He opted to give blessings to the brothers who had taken so much from him. But to the brothers, who could not scrub the blood of their brother from their hearts and hands, the money was a curse, highlighting their sin and guilt.

There are both blessings and perceived curses in our lives. We think we can distinguish the difference between the two. Blessings look and feel good. Situations that seem to be cursed, in our limited, human perspective, do not. But what if blessings and burdens are in cahoots? What if God can use the seemingly unremarkable and ugly parts of our lives to reveal His goodness and provision?

When the famine forced his brothers to return to Egypt a second time to purchase grain for their hungry families, it was the silver in their sacks that brought them back to Joseph. Without money to return, surely they would have avoided the foreign ruler who imprisoned them, kept their brother Simeon, and ordered them to bring him their beloved baby brother. But once the geode was cracked open, deep beauty was revealed.

“Then the steward said, ‘May you be well. Don’t be afraid.
Your God and the God of your father must have put treasure in your bags.
I received your silver.’ Then he brought Simeon out to them” (Genesis 43:23).

They returned the silver, and brought their brother Benjamin to Joseph, and Simeon was returned to them. But look again. Standing in their brother’s presence, reconciliation was possible. The family was reunited and brought together to live in the thriving nation of Egypt.

Look again. Crack open another geode. The events of Joseph’s story set the stage for Israel’s later enslavement by a new Pharaoh. That moment of history is ugly, but look at how God continues to work. Israel’s deliverance through Moses, the Passover, and the parting of the Red Sea. Keep looking. Keep cracking. From the nation of Israel came our Savior whose birth seemed unremarkable and death was horrific, but whose sacrifice granted us salvation—the greatest treasure of all.

There is no way to know the riches God can bring in the ugly, rocky places of our lives. We can trust the treasure is there and that in His timing, beautiful, sparkling gems will be revealed.

Post Comments (21)

21 thoughts on "The Return to Egypt"

  1. Camille English Davis says:

    “God sent me ahead of you to preserve your life…God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant…” Taking a moment to express gratitude for the people God sent ahead of me to preserve my life to establish my life. Grateful Heart…

  2. Anastasia says:

    “The events of Joseph’s story set the stage for Israel’s later enslavement by a new Pharaoh. That moment of history is ugly, but look at how God continues to work. Israel’s deliverance through Moses, the Passover, and the parting of the Red Sea.”. Joseph and his family weren’t there to witness that. That’s something they didn’t know would happen. I love how they mentioned in the podcast that we’re all in the middle of the story and won’t always live to see the results of our hardships

  3. Katy Holloway says:

    We’re in the middle of waiting to see what is in our geode. We were supposed to finish our international adoption in just a couple weeks (China). But due to the coronavirus, everything has been put on hold. We were just 2 weeks out from travel, now we are probably 2 months plus to travel. As much as it is painful, we know this is our geode. We just can’t wait to see what’s inside.

    1. Hannah Oliver says:

      Oh katy! My heart goes out to you momma! Any update since then? Praying for protection over your child waiting in China- and for a speedy process to come get him or her and take them home ♥️

    2. Courtney Mynhier says:

      We just adopted our daughter, and I can’t image the anxiety you must be feeling through all of this. We know a family in our church who is in the process of a China adoption and they have no idea when they will get to travel to meet their daughter. Gods plan is perfect though and none of this caught Him by surprise. Cling to His promises, your geode is coming! ❤️

  4. Sheri Ness says:

    I am reminded of my sister, Colleen. She seemed to breathe the truth that “these light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all”. Sometimes God will part the Red Seas of our lives, sometimes it will feel like we are trapped in slavery. Our time on this earth isn’t the end-game. The smoothness of my life is not a reflection of God’s love for me. Thank you sisters for your notes to remind me how He is crafting our souls to live trusting in his grace and kindness.

    1. Suzie McRae says:

      Love “The smoothness of my life isn’t a reflection of God’s love for me.” Great reminder!

  5. K D says:

    God takes the broken and makes it beautiful. Holding onto that as truth.

  6. Jennifer Anapol says:

    Romans 8:28: “For we know that in all things God works for the good for those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I think this verse really sums up our reading for today. I know I can see this truth in my life.

  7. Becky says:

    Yes,Churchmouse! Exactly what Hebrews 11 says. Even when they couldn’t see – they believed by faith and it was counted to them as righteousness.

  8. Mari V says:

    This is one of my most favorite reads of the Bible. Especially when Joseph says to his brothers what was meant for evil God turned it for good. I’ve always believed God can bring something good out of something horribly ugly.
    I’m going to be transparent here right now. Many of you here know I separated from a 20 year plus marriage. It’s now been over two years. I won’t get into detail about it but I will say this. I am happy! I am full of joy! Since separating I feel like in I can take a DEEP breath! The thought of even going back, I start to feel nervous and all those ugly moments start to come back. I know anything is possible for God but I have to admit here today I don’t want to go back. Even if he were to change.

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