S: Genesis 47:13-26 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. 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.
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.”
Then Joseph said, “Give your livestock, and I will give you bread for your livestock, if the money is gone.” So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the cattle of the herds, and for the donkeys. Thus he fed them with bread in exchange for all their livestock that year.
When that year had ended, they came to him the next year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is gone; my lord also has our herds of livestock. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands. Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants of Pharaoh; give us seed, that we may live and not die, that the land may not be desolate.”
Then Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for every man of the Egyptians sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. So the land became Pharaoh’s. And as for the people, he moved them into the cities, from one end of the borders of Egypt to the other end. Only the land of the priests he did not buy; for the priests had rations allotted to them by Pharaoh, and they ate their rations which Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their lands.
Then Joseph said to the people, “Indeed I have bought you and your land this day for Pharaoh. Look, here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the harvest that you shall give one-fifth to Pharaoh. Four-fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and for your food, for those of your households and as food for your little ones.”
So they said, “You have saved our lives; let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.” And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt to this day, that Pharaoh should have one-fifth, except for the land of the priests only, which did not become Pharaoh’s.
O: Joseph is one of the few people in the Bible other than Jesus who seemed to have no sin. But if we examine the narrative closely, we see that he enslaved the people of Egypt as a side effect of his successful attempt to save them from starvation. Ironically, it also set the stage for the Israelites' own slavery later -- once people got used to the idea that the whole population of Egypt was enslaved, it wasn't too hard to go from that to the extra-hard slavery the Israelites would then experience leading up to Moses' time.
God did not record any reprimand on him for these things, as Joseph was a man of his times and didn't realize that what he did was wrong. But it does go to show that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Nobody's perfect -- except Jesus Christ. That's why all of us cannot earn our own salvation -- we all have sinned, we all need Jesus to save us.
A: Since we have all like sheep gone astray and turn to our own way, we need to repent and come to the foot of the cross for God's forgiveness and grace bought by the blood of Jesus Christ. Nobody's perfect, even wonderful people like Mother Theresa needed Christ's saving blood.
How do we do this? There is a short booklet available in many languages called The Four Spiritual Laws that summarizes this truth from the Bible. Here's the book in English, and here's the book in many other languages.
P: Father in Heaven, thank You for providing Your perfect Son to save us from our imperfection and to bring us to eternal life with You. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)