All the descendants of Jacob were seventy persons; Joseph was already in Egypt (Exodus 1:5).
In Exodus, God was disrupting an entire nation. The Lord let the Israelites know that the times were changing. There was turmoil in their land. They were in dire straits. The famine had spread beyond discomfort, and their families were struggling to make ends meet. From their perspective, they lived in the moment, and there was little hope for change that would make their future any better. It was not clear to them as to what they should do to resolve their problems. From the “ground-level” view, they had no idea of God’s plans for them in Egypt.
In Exodus 1:5, the writer is letting you know that the Israelites were in the process of leaving their homes and heading to an unknown place somewhere in Egypt. Though the text does not say, I’m sure some of them were struggling with the stirring of their nest (Deuteronomy 32:11). God created an uncomfortable situation because He wrote a story that was far beyond anything they could think or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
What was a time in your marriage when you distinctly felt that God was changing your circumstances for reasons you could not understand? From your “ground-level” perspective, were you resting in the assurance that God was working a good plan for both of you? It was time for a lifestyle change. New people, places, and things were the “new normal” for the Israelites, and there wasn’t a thing they could do about it. The writer then inserted five little words into the Bible: “Joseph was already in Egypt.”
Imagine what it meant for Joseph to be “already in Egypt,” waiting to receive his dysfunctional family and confused friends. It took the mighty hand of God to rip Joseph away from his family so that He could reposition him in Egypt. God used a few Ishmaelite tradesmen, an evil woman, some jail time, and Pharaoh’s favor. To think “Joseph was already in Egypt” misses the profundity of what God did by a zillion miles. Joseph’s story is more mind-bending than just prepping a place for a few friends and family.
God went to great lengths to get Joseph to Egypt because that is what God does for those He loves. God is always persevering with you, always planning, and working ahead of time, so when you arrive, you’ll be amazed because God was already there. Whether it’s Joseph’s family turmoil or your marriage problems, what you are experiencing on the ground level is not the same as what God is doing on the sovereign level. The Lord works in interfamily disputes in such a way that you will never be able to figure it out until He lets you know, and when you do find out, it will blow your mind.
Take some time to read chapters 37-50 in Genesis while keeping Exodus 1:5 in view. Ask the Father to ease your soul as you watch Him working, knowing that no matter where He takes your marriage, He will be waiting when you arrive.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).