In the days of Joseph there was a famine in the land of Egypt and surrounding countries. A seven-year famine! Enough to destroy the life of man and beast!But God . . .! But God prepared a “savior of the people,” so-called by Pharaoh, who re-named Joseph “Zaphnath-Paaneah.” God’s chosen people, Israel, cannot be destroyed by famine; they must show forth His praises in all the earth. Therefore God sent Joseph into Egypt with the express purpose of saving His people from a slow death by famine. In all this Joseph did not boast of his name and position. He remained a humble child of God, a servant of Jehovah, who said, “God sent me to preserve a remnant . . .”
When Joseph’s brethren came to him the second time to buy grain, the famine was already two years old. In another five years they would all perish. It was then that Pharaoh advised Joseph to invite his family to come to Egypt, to their brother who was the custodian of life-giving food.
The parallel of Joseph’s history is being realized today. The church is again faced with a dreadful famine—the worst kind: a spiritual famine! The people of God are suffering from a lack of the preaching of the pure Word of God. That famine is already 2. (?) years old, and there are still 5 (?) more years to come, until all life will be destroyed. Seven, the number of completeness. The people are suffering from malnutrition, and they know it! Many are shopping around for other sources of food. Even Reformed people are shopping in Baptist churches; not that they would like to give up their stand on infant baptism, but because they have heard that the local minister preaches the Word of God. He still believes that the Bible is the infallible Word of God.
The parallel is further evident in that starving people are saying to their children, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain in Egypt.” And they are saying to one another, “Get you down thither, and buy grain, that we may live and not die.”
Further, we believe that our churches have been preserved by the grace of God to be a Zaphnath-Paaneah to the people of God. We, like Joseph, did not choose to be banished from our fatherland (mother-church); we, like Joseph did not seek to be nominated to that office; we, like Joseph, also say, “God has sent us . . .”
We are a small denomination, hardly creating a ripple in the church world. But the starving ones are sending to us for grain. From far and near our Mission Committee is receiving requests for our food. From listeners to our Reformed Witness Hour; from readers of our Standard Bearer and books and pamphlets. From all over the world they send to us for food: from London, from New South Wales, from New Zealand, from New Guinea, from Australia, and from Korea.
Our Mission Committee is sending our ministers to preach the Word of God to hungry people when they request it. In Maine, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. They confess that they are starving for wholesome food. They have been forced by that dreadful famine to send to Egypt for grain. To Egypt, the place where God had prepared, and was pleased to preserve, a Zaphnath-Paaneah for His chosen people. Oh, it is not pleasant to see our brethren suffer in their fatherland. No, it causes us deep grief to note that brother Calvinists are forced to leave their cherished domain to seek for food! We are grateful to God—and profoundly amazed—that we are privileged to be the purveyors of food for the famished. Like Saul of old, we say, “I am the least of my father’s house.”But God . . . but God has clearly shown us that He has entrusted to us to hold forth the bread of life to the hungry. We are convinced that our pulpits are still faithful to the “Faith of our Fathers.” Our ministers, to a man, preach the infallible Scriptures in all their purity. We are convinced that God has led us to say with Joseph, “God has sent (kept) us to preserve a remnant in the earth.”
We invite you, you know you are starving, to send to us for grain. And when you will need more, and again more, we will advise you, with Pharaoh, “Tell your family to leave their fatherland (mother church) and dwell with us.” The storehouse of God is full. Freely we have received; freely we give.
You may address your requests to: J. M. Faber, Secretary of the Mission Committee of the Protestant Reformed Churches, 1145 Franklin Street, S.E., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49507. Home address: 128 Ken-O-Sha Drive, SE., Grand Rapids, Michigan 49507. Phone: (616) 243-9563.