Joseph was thirty years old when he entered the service of Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh and went through all the land of Egypt. During the seven plentiful years the earth produced abundantly, and he gathered up all the food of these seven years, which occurred in the land of Egypt, and put the food in the cities. He put in every city the food from the fields around it. And Joseph stored up grain in great abundance, like the sand of the sea, until he ceased to measure it, for it could not be measured.
Before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph. Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera priest of On, bore them to him. Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh. “For,” he said, “God has made me forget all my hardship and all my father’s house.” The name of the second he called Ephraim, “For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” Genesis 41:46-52 ESV
The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126: 3-6 ESV
David Copperfield had many hard times as a child. His father died before he was born, and when he was seven years old his mother married a man named Mr. Murdstone, who was very cruel to him. Mr. Murdstone sent David to a boarding school which was not a happy place, and after his mother died David was sent to work for a wine merchant where he also suffered hunger and cruelty. Finally he ran away to his aunt, Betsey Trotwood. His Aunt Betsey adopted him, and for the first time in a long while he had enough to eat, nice clothes to wear, and a chance to get an education. Good times with his aunt helped him forget the troubles he had been through.
Joseph’s story was a little like that. He had been through many troubles–brothers who hated him and sold him into slavery and a lie that sent him to jail for several years. When God turned things around for Joseph, he was very thankful for all of his blessings. He had important work to do, and it went well. He got married and he and his wife had two sons. Joseph gave them names that told how he was feeling. The first son’s name, Manasseh, meant “causing to forget,” and his second son’s name, Ephraim, meant “fruitful.” Joseph thanked God for his blessings through the names of his sons.
We might not have troubles as bad as Joseph or David Copperfield, but we have been troubled by sin. We were separated from God because of our sin. We had no hope of getting out of our troubles on our own, but God gave us the most wonderful blessing of all when he sent Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus died on the cross and rose again so that our sins could be forgiven. Because of Jesus, we have life with God, now and forever. We can leave in the past any sin that hurts us, because in Jesus we have God’s love and blessing forever!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus to be our Savior. Please forgive our sins and keep us close to you always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Dickens, Charles David Copperfield London: Bradbury and Evans, 1850.