Read Genesis 41:37-57
And just like that all the world comes to Joseph.
He’s second only to Pharaoh, straight from the dungeon to world power.
But his new job isn’t actually so different from all his other ones. It’s bigger. It has better perks. But it’s management, which he’s been doing all along. He managed Potiphar’s house, then the jails, now Egypt.
In fact, if he hadn’t done so well with the other jobs, he wouldn’t be here now. If he had chosen to sulk, or be angry and bitter – and who would blame him? – none of this would have happened. But since he was working hard he met the cupbearer, was remembered to Pharaoh, and knew what to do.
He was ready.
And now this: “God has made me fruitful in the land of my sufferings.” Joseph’s heart must be overflowing with gratitude and joy as he holds his second son. He’d named his first “Manassah”, which means forgetfulness, as a tribute to God for helping him truly ‘forget’ or get over, missing his home and family. Now, he praises God for giving him such a full, rich life here in Egypt, “the land of my sufferings.”
I think there’s something in each of us that wants to be ‘fruitful’.
It was the very first command (Gen. 1:28) and it sounds, when God says it to his brand-new creation, more like permission than an order: ‘Yes, I made you to be fruitful, go ahead.’
Obviously, fruitfulness in Genesis, and here in Joseph’s life, is literally about having children; but it’s more too. It’s connected with work, with what a person does and how they contribute to life in this world. The fruit of a tree has both a seed and flesh – reproduction and nourishment. I think God intends each of us to be fruitful, however that looks in our circumstances.
There must have been times when it seemed to Joseph that he would die without producing any fruit at all – other than a nicely ordered dungeon, and he learned to be okay with that.
But God was planning something far better.
He usually is.