Joseph’s brothers finally return home to tell their father the big news.

Joseph is alive!

The brother they’d once wanted to kill will now be the very one to keep all of them alive.

The entire family is soon escorted to Egypt.

A celebratory parade

of men,



herds of livestock,

and some of Pharoah’s finest resources for the journey.

The trip couldn’t have been an easy one though.

No amount of spices and grain can make a trek across miles of barren land enjoyable.

Crossing a desert in a group this size

would be stressful under the best of circumstances,

but add a famine to the story

and it quickly becomes

a road trip from anywhere but Heaven.

I’m trying to imagine the exhaustion Jacob felt

after years of grieving a son he thought was dead,

now forced to travel many miles from home

in order to save his family.

Did he remember God’s promise as he moved further and further from what he thought was the promised land?

 “Your descendants shall also be like the dust of the earth,

and you shall spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south;

\and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

“And behold, I am with you,

and will keep you wherever you go,

and will bring you back to this land;

for I will not leave you

until I have done what I have promised you.”

Genesis 28:10-15

I can’t imagine hearing these words.

And ever forgetting them.

They surely played over and over in his mind as he trudged across the hot, dry land.

The dust under his feet had to be a constant reminder……..

of the many descendants God had promised him.

And the blessings these children and grandchildren would bring to ALL the earth.

But with each tired and weary step,

did the promise seem to fade?

Get a little less clear.

Become a little more like a dream.

I think it would’ve for me.

It’s so easy to forget that a stressful and exhausting day for me

may be the very thing that helps someone else tomorrow?

As Jacob’s caravan pulled into town and he climbed from the wagon to hug Pharoah

(assuming he greets people like I do),

I’m pretty sure he wasn’t expecting the first words from Pharoah’s mouth to be,

“How many years have you lived?”

This question in the text surprised me.

Made me pause.

Was this really the first thing on Pharoah’s mind?

And did Pharoah ever bother to speak to him again?

Here stood the father of Joseph.

A son he had not seen in thirteen years.

A son who had moved from a slave to the second in command in Egypt.

And Pharoah is wondering about his age.

So many heartfelt words were available in that moment.

Yet Pharoah made small talk.

Accepted a blessing.

Then returned to doing whatever Pharoah’s do.


I’ve read many interpretations of this passage and of Jacob’s reply.

Pharoah may have never seen a person quite this old.

Or he may have been worried about the future of his own country

if Jacob were to die.

I’m not sure what his motive was,

but the fact that this conversation is included

tells me it matters.


And maybe if I’m quiet,

it can speak to me today.

And to you.

There are days when I am Pharoah.

Speaking with selfish motives.

Asking questions that will benefit me most.

Then moving on.

A blessing in hand.

With little thought for who I’ve left behind.

I do not like these kind of days.

There are also days when I am Jacob.

Tired and weary.

Asked for more than I am able to give.

But giving anyway.

I love these kind of days.


That’s the thing I love most about the Bible.

The good guys and the bad.

They’re all me.

And the things they do are no different than the things I do.

Every selfish move and every selfless one.

I make them all.

Yet God doesn’t remove them from my story.

He uses them to push me along.

And when my eyes are wide open and my heart is too,

I can see the bad moves and learn from them,

while seeing the good ones and being thankful for them at the very same time.

Every move I make matters.

There’s no part of my story that will be deleted or erased.

So the Bible keeps reminding me.

Every single day.

That I’m Jacob and I’m Pharoah.

I’m good and I’m bad.

But most of all,

I’m loved.

And just as Jacob believed he would return to the promised land,

I believe I will too.

So I trudge on.

Trusting Him every step of the way.

Knowing He is up ahead,

smoothing rough roads.

Making a way.

I will go before you and will level the mountains;

I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.

Isaiah. 45:2