Almighty God, today I look to You to guide my thinking, unravel my difficulties, and empower my decisions.
Read GENESIS 47:13-31
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Two factors emerge early in leaders. First, they take the lead initiating ideas and plans. Second, leaders move people to follow them by showing them consideration” (Leighton Ford).
The recent global financial crisis made great demands of national and financial leaders throughout the world. We will not easily forget their anguish and panic as they rushed to develop strategies for curbing the crisis. Leaders have great responsibility for making tough, even unpopular, decisions in tough times. Joseph had managed the early stages of the famine crisis well, but as it became more severe the people’s financial resources were not sufficient for the scarce, costly food. Creative leadership solutions were necessary to rescue the population. First came barter of livestock for food; then sale of land to Pharaoh with debt slavery of tenant farmers; then 20 per cent taxation of produce. Only the priests had special arrangements. That was probably an acknowledgement of their extensive political power. Joseph’s economic measures sound harsh to us today but they were humane at the time. The people had food and livelihoods and gratefully submitted to servitude to Pharaoh in exchange for their lives. Innocent victims of natural and man-made disasters around our world still require their leaders to resolve complex situations humanely. Addressing contemporary poverty and environment issues with creativity, compassion and urgency will test even Joseph-like leadership.
We cannot speculate if Jacob’s family should have returned to Canaan after surviving the crisis. Their material and numerical prosperity had significant early benefits, but in the longer term it nearly destroyed them (Exod. 1:6-11). The failing patriarch, however, was intent on going home, and communicated that clearly and symbolically to Joseph. For Jacob, Egypt had been a welcome place for refuge and reunion, but it was not the land of promise where the ultimate security of his family lay.
Pray for national leaders who guide decisions on behalf of those in crisis, both locally and globally.
Father, enable me to show authentic servant leadership in my world; be it in family, church, workplace or neighborhood.
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