I Surrender All

Bible Book: Genesis  47 : 13-26
Subject: Surrender; Commitment; Dedication

As we get closer to another presidential election, one of the subjects you will hear much about is the issue of bigger government. The size and role of the federal government is a debate that always comes up between the two political parties, though no matter who gets elected it seems that the government always manages to swell rather than shrink.

In the middle of Genesis chapter 47 we find the record of Joseph’s governing in the land of Egypt during a time of terrible famine. Under Joseph’s leadership, the kingdom of Pharaoh and the government of Egypt became more powerful than ever before, essentially taking ownership of everything and everyone.

As Americans living and working in a free-market, capitalistic system, this text may seem like a strange example of economics and government policy. But this passage is not really about that. As we have continually seen, as much as Joseph was a historical person, he is a spiritual picture.

Repeatedly in the Biblical account of his remarkable life, Joseph points us beyond himself to the person of Christ. He is a clear type and representative of our elder Brother and Savior, Jesus. With that in mind, as we look at this text about the ministry of Joseph in Egypt I believe we are reminded of the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Make no mistake about it. Jesus has come not only to rescue you and redeem you, but to rule you as well. We do not sing, “I surrender some,” but rather, “I surrender all.” The closer you get to Jesus, the more you will find the need to bow your knee to Him, and let Him have absolute control over every aspect of your life.

Notice how we see this illustrated in the Egyptian people and their relationship with Joseph in the text before us. Consider with me firstly:


Just as God had revealed to Pharaoh in his dreams, Egypt had experienced seven years of great productivity and prosperity. And just as God had promised, those seven years were followed by another seven years in which virtually nothing was grown or produced in the land.

In Genesis 47, those lean years had created a critical situation. The people of Egypt were desperate, and it was their desperation that led them to the feet of Joseph. In much the same way, it is the critical, desperate situation of the sinner that often brings them to the feet of Jesus.

Let me show you what I mean. Looking at the people of Egypt, notice with that:

A. They faced a famine in their lives

Verse 13 of our text says, “And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.”

While most Americans may understand the definition of the word “famine”, almost none of them have ever experienced it.

Most of us have refrigerators and pantries stocked with food, and if we run out, we can always go to the grocery store where they will gladly sell us more. But in an agricultural society such as Egypt was in the time of Joseph, famine was a harsh reality. As the text says, there was “no bread” in all the land. The people simply had nothing to eat.

While most of us have no real understanding of a physical famine, there is another kind of hunger that many of us have experienced. It is a spiritual hunger. As sinners separated from God, our souls have no nourishment, no health, and no life in them. Then when we are awakened to our spiritual needs, we realize how badly we must have something or someone to feed the deepest hungers of our heart. And the hungers of the heart cannot be satisfied with the bread of this world. A man may be surrounded by this world’s wealth, and still be spiritually starving.

That hunger, that spiritual famine, is part of what God uses to bring us to the Lord Jesus, who said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger…” (John 6:35)

Looking at the Egyptians in this text, we see that they were brought to the feet of Joseph, not only because they faced a famine in their lives, but notice also that:

B. They feared the future of their lives

As the people dealt with the famine in their land, they began to come to Joseph for help. Notice something they said to him in verse 1The people pleaded with Joseph saying, “…Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence?”

Again in verse 19, we hear them say, “Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land?”

Facing a total lack of food and sustenance, the people realized that if Joseph did not help them, they would die. Their future was bleak unless he gave them food. In much the same way, when we as sinners truly realize the full extent of spiritual condition apart from God we know that we will perish unless He helps us.

As the Spirit of God deals with us to show us our need, we begin to recognize that Jesus is not optional, but essential. Unless we have Him and His grace, we are as good as dead and hell as the only prospect before us. Apart from Jesus, we face death! The situation of the sinner is critical and desperate! And yet, it is that awareness of how desperate our condition is that ultimately drives us to Jesus as the only source of salvation and life.

In John Bunyan’s classic book, The Pilgrim’s Progress, the main character is a man named Christian who becomes tormented by the burden on his back and the fear of the destruction that is coming on the place where he lives. Bunyan describes him as being “greatly distressed in his mind,” and crying out from fear, “What shall I do to be saved?” A man named Evangelist points Christian toward the way leading to the Celestial City, with the promise that his burden can be removed and he can be spared from death. Bunyan said that Christian then began to run toward that way, and as he did, he cried out, “Life! Life! Eternal life!”

As desperation drove the Egyptians to Joseph, so God shows us how critical our situation is and uses it to drive us to the feet of our Lord Jesus.

Looking further at this passage, notice with me not only how critical the situation of these people, but notice also secondly:


When the people turned to Joseph, He had food for them. God had raised him up as a Savior in Egypt. The name Pharaoh had given him back in chapter 41, “Zaphnathpaaneah”, literally means, “Savior of the world.”

Joseph was able to provide food for all the people of the land, but as they came to him, they found that there was a cost involved.

I want to be very clear in connecting this to Jesus. The salvation Jesus provides for us is freely given by grace, and we certainly cannot purchase it or earn it. Nevertheless, Jesus made it clear that there was a cost associated with following Him.

In Luke 14, when a large crowd of people were flocking to Jesus, He challenged them about counting the cost of being His disciple. In verse 33 of that chapter, Jesus said, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”

If you desire the salvation that Jesus is willing to give you, then somewhere your whole life must be given over to Him. That is what Jesus meant when He said in Matthew 16:25, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”

Salvation is not a fire insurance policy that you put in your pocket and save for when you die. Salvation is a lifeboat into which you go completely and fully, and cling to from here to eternity.

Notice the ways in which the Egyptians surrendered over to Joseph, and what it says about our surrender to the lordship of Jesus. For one thing:

A. They surrendered their possessions

In verse 14, we read that the people of Egypt gave all of their money to Joseph for the bread they needed to live. A little later, they returned and gave all their cattle and their livestock to Joseph, who again sustained them with bread. These people were willing to give up all of their material possessions and wealth to Joseph in order to be spared from the famine.

Does Jesus require you to give up all of your money and possessions? Maybe. He said to the rich, young ruler in Luke 18:22, “…sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.” The reality is that He is often gracious to let us have many blessings in this life, but the understanding is that they are His first. We have relinquished it all to Him, and we then use for His glory what He chooses to give back to us.

Too many folks want a gospel that touches their heart but not their wallet. But, Jesus will be Lord of your stuff if He is truly Lord of your soul.

Notice that these Egyptians surrendered not only their possessions, but notice also that:

B. They surrendered their places

As the famine continued, in verse 19 we find the people coming to Joseph again. This time they offered to give him their lands in order that they might have bread and live.

Later in the chapter, we find Joseph moving the people around within the country, relocating them to different places. They were willing to surrender the security of their home and land over to Joseph.

I wonder; have you surrendered over your place in this world to Jesus? I mean are you willing to go wherever He leads you and live wherever He directs you? If Jesus directed you to sell your home, leave Trenton, and move to some remote place and live as a missionary, would you go? Are you truly a pilgrim in this life? Is your place on earth wherever Jesus decides it should be?

The people came to Joseph and surrendered their possessions and their places. Notice also though that:

C. They surrendered their persons

In verse 19, when the people offered to sell their lands, they also offered up their lives. They said, “…buy us…and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh.”

Literally, the people were willing to be slaves of the kingdom. They gave up their very lives into the hands of Joseph.

Have you given not just your stuff and the security of your home, but your very self over to Jesus? Have you given your whole life over to His control to use in His Kingdom?

The truth is; if you are a believer He has already bought you! I Corinthians 6:20 says, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”

If you have about $30.00, you can join Bill Gates, and become an owner of the Microsoft company. Of course, you will only have one of over 8.3 billion shares of the company, and they probably won’t call you in for corporate decisions.

Understand this. When Jesus paid the ransom for you on the cross, He was not buying just stock in your life, or a share of you. He didn’t come to invest in sinners. He came to take over their lives.

Somewhere, you must surrender to Him what He deserves, which is everything!

Looking once more at this text, we see not only how critical the situation of these people, and how complete the surrender of these people, but notice with me lastly:


Now you might think that after getting control of everything and everyone one in the land that Joseph would be the most hated politician in history.

Yet, the text says something very different. Joseph provided the people with food and then gave them seeds to plant new crops. In verse 25 we find the reaction of the people.

We read, “And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants.”

Rather than animosity, the leadership and lordship of Joseph was met with appreciation. These people were glad they had surrendered everything to His control. In much the same way, if you meet someone who is truly surrendered to Jesus Christ, they have nothing but praise for Him! They will tell you that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light!

Why do we find comfort in a salvation that calls us to surrender everything to Jesus? Well consider why the Egyptians were so grateful. First of all, they were comforted:

A. By the saving of their lives

The people handed over everything they had, including their own lives, and then they looked at Joseph and said, “You have saved our lives!” They recognized that apart from Joseph and the supply He had given them, they would have all perished. All their stuff, all their land, even their personal freedom would have meant nothing if they had starved to death.

In an even greater way, when we come by faith to Jesus, He gives us eternal life. Rather than dying in our sins and suffering the torment of hell, Jesus gives us abundant life here, and then opens up the glories of heaven for us in the hereafter!

The life we give to Him isn’t really life at all. It is a famine of sin and death. But when we give it to Him, He gives us real life and life eternal in exchange.

That is why we now can sing:

"I will serve Thee, because I love Thee,

You have given life to me,

I was nothing before You found me,

You have given life to me"

The person who gives everything to Jesus has really lost nothing at all! When they surrender everything to Him, they get a life from Him they would never have known without Him!

Notice in this text that the Egyptians were grateful and comforted in their surrender to Joseph, not only by the saving of their lives, but also:

B. By the serving of their lord

Notice again what the people said to Joseph in verse 2“Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants.”

Literally they said, “We have found grace in your sight, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants.” They were happy to live as servants under the king. On their own, they were dying. Nothing was growing and their lands were barren. Their lives apart from service to Pharaoh were producing nothing.

Now, the text says that Joseph moved them into new areas and entrusted them with seed to plant and grow new crops. They had hope! In service to their king they had something to do and something to live for. Likewise, when we surrender fully to the lordship of Jesus Christ, though we live as His servants, serving Him is much more rewarding than living for ourselves. He gives us a new life and a new purpose, and in that life we are able to reap the benefits of serving Him.

David Livingstone left a comfortable life in England and poured his heart into reaching the people of Africa. He eventually died there, sick with disease and owning little more than the clothes on his back. Yet, listen to what he said about his life of service to Christ. He said, “People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa…It is emphatically no sacrifice. Rather it is a privilege…I never made a sacrifice.”

Oh that we in this day of self-centered, casually committed Christianity would understand that it is no sacrifice at all to serve fully the King of kings! Rather, we will find greater joy and comfort in doing His will than we will ever have in doing ours.

Some read this particular section of Genesis 47 and see Joseph as a cruel dictator, bringing the people of Egypt into bondage. The truth is, however, apart from Joseph’s wise administration and rule, the people would have died. Some folks likewise bristle at the idea of Jesus as an absolute Sovereign and Lord over His people, demanding their full submission. And yet, it is only when Jesus has full control over us that He is able to truly save us from ourselves and the sins that threaten to enslave us.

The song we often sing so casually ought to be the most sincere and passionate prayer of our lives:

"All to Jesus, I surrender,

All to Him I freely give,

I will ever love and trust Him,

In His presence daily live,

I surrender all, I surrender all,

All to Thee my blessed Savior,

I surrender all!"

Terry Trivette 2012