How do you usually do on POP QUIZS? Student-hated them, always felt unprepared as a Teacher-liked them, tell me really where the class was in learning the material. I have a pop quiz for you today, let’s see if done lesson, also like working as a team, you can take this quiz together. 2 questions. Pretend you are one of the brothers:
When confronted with the pain I have brought others, I:
a. Am embarrassed
b. Pretend it didn’t happen
c. Seek their forgiveness
d. Fear I will be punished
Now, pretend you are Joseph:
When I have the opportunity to forgive others, I:
a. Avoid the issue
b. Make sure they knew how badly I was hurt
c. Feel relieved to get it off my chest
d. Enjoy getting back together
Our lesson is about Testings and Changes. In a certain sense the story of Joseph shifts here to become largely the story of the 10 brothers as God works to awaken their nearly dead consciences and bring them to repentance and ultimately to family reconciliation. God uses Joseph to test them. Tests for guilty conscience; tests for jealousy; tests for family loyalty; tests for family love. 20 years have past. Are they the same men or are they different? We need to know. Thru these tests, we’re also going to learn about Joseph’s heart, how does he feel now about these brothers who sold him into slavery? To help us work through this story, point out seven ways God uses to touch their hearts, to bring them to repentance: Question is: Through these tests would they in any way demonstrate that they had changed?
I. Joseph is reunited with Brothers - Genesis 42-45
A. Testing brings repentance - Genesis 42-44
B. Forgiveness brings reconciliation - Genesis 45
II. Jacob travels to Egypt - Genesis 46:1-47:12
A. Meeting God at Beersheba - Genesis 46:1-27
B. Meeting Joseph in Goshen - Genesis 46:28-30
C. Meeting Pharaoh - Genesis 46:31-47:12
1. Need - Famine. READ Genesis 41:57. Jacob heard there was food in Egypt, boys you need to go down to Egypt, very strange sentence. READ Genesis 42:1 “keep staring”, we the reader, have an idea why. Read Genesis 42:2 “Egypt” – may have been a buzz word among them, they couldn’t have forgotten, last time they saw Joseph was on his way to Egypt, their family secret, kept quiet 20 yrs. But there was nowhere else to go, only food was is in Egypt, they had a great need for food. 10 brothers went, Benjamin stayed home. Arrived in Egypt presented before Joseph, bowed down before him (Genesis 42:6) - we see the beginning of the fulfillment of Joseph’s dreams.
2. Injustice - (Genesis 42:7-14) Joseph speaking harshly accuses them of being spies, words were used to shock the brothers, these were hard men, remember their history, they murdered innocent people at Shechem, Judah had an incestuous affair with Tamar, they had so much hatred, jealousy they sold their brother for money. When Joseph said “you are spies” perhaps that’s what they had said to Joseph, “You’re just a spy for dad, telling him bad reports about us” Words Joseph used were carefully calculated for them to feel what it’s like to suffer injustice, to be wrongly accused, to be punished when there was no wrong done.
3. Solitude READ Genesis 42:17 They were put in prison, loss of freedom, forced time to think, reflect back on their lives, gave them time for their consciences to be awaken. Then on 3rd day Joseph has them released and says he would let them go home, but one had to stay behind as a guarantee they would return w/their youngest brother who would verify their story. FIRST CHANGE: admission of personal guilt READ Genesis 42:21,22. Now they would talk about it, now they would admit what they had done, they are beginning to see what was happening to them was a consequence of their own sin. They remembered the pain, distress they had caused Joseph. When they said this, Joseph turned and wept. It would seem his tears were not for his own pain, but because the testing of his brothers was beginning to fulfill its purpose. Simeon is taken, rest prepare to depart.
4. Unexplained Circumstances Genesis 42:25-28
Left Joseph likely the capital was Memphis (10 miles south of Cairo)-250 miles to Hebron. 3 week journey. On way home, probably discussing what are we going to tell dad about Simeon? Come to the first resting stop, one opens his sack, heart dropped, there was all his money. How did it get there, they had paid for the grain? Response READ Genesis 42:28. “God is remembering our sin, God has seen it, God is doing something in our lives” Take notice, this is the first time the brothers mention God. Go home, we see the SECOND CHANGE: beginning honesty w/their father, tell him what happened in Egypt, omit the truth about selling Joseph, but they’re honest about their experience in Egypt. Jacob is overwhelmed when hears that Benjamin must return to release Simeon. READ Genesis 42:36. THIRD CHANGE: Heart attitude change in Reuben who somewhat foolishly offers his own sons if he goes to Egypt and doesn’t return with Simeon and Benjamin. This is the man who humiliated his father when he slept w/his concubine; he now puts himself and his own family on the line for the sake of Benjamin. Jacob refuses the offer, no way is Benjamin going, if he were to die it would kill me, stays.
5. Continuing Need READ Genesis 43:1 The food that had been brought up from Egypt ran out, Jacob ordered the brothers to go get more. Judah steps up “But dad we can’t go back w/o Benjamin, remember what we told you- he said, don’t come back w/o him” FOURTH CHANGE: Guarantee of Judah. Genesis 43:8-10. Similar to Reuben’s offer, Judah =carry the blame if anything happens, this too shows a change of heart in Judah who was basically saying- dad your happiness is more important than my own, I will be responsible, count on me dad. This change and continuing need cause the FIFTH CHANGE: change in Jacob’s attitude. READ Genesis 43:11-13. Maybe he’d been thinking, I’m old, if all the boys leave, something happens to them, I’ll be totally alone, how could I live without Benjamin, he’s all I have left. This Continuing need for food was also a test for him too- would he trust the God who had promised him the blessings of Abraham and Isaac? Would he trust God to give him descendants like the dust of the earth? What if all his descendants die? Would he trust God to take care of all of his sons? Would he trust God to keep His promises? Ends us saying “yes” “May El Shaddai” v14 grant you mercy, may my God take care of you, and whatever happens, happens. They pack up gifts, $ and all leave, including Benjamin., sometime later, they arrive in Egypt, and are presented to Joseph and we see God now works through the..
6. Power of true love- Genesis 43:16. Through an invitation to lunch that God shows amazing grace to these brothers. When they understand they’re invited to eat w/Joseph, they’re really afraid, go to the steward, tell him their story of finding the money, offer to pay it back, but he reassures them not to worry. READ Genesis 43:23. Simeon joins them, everything seems to be going nicely, water to wash their feet, food for animals, look in dining room, prepared meal for them, treated like friends, not spies. Genesis 43:26 Joseph comes in the room, touching moment when he sees his little brother Benjamin, son of his mother-breaks down, has to leave the room. Comes back and has another test for them: seated according birth order, Benjamin is given 5 times more of everything than the rest- 5 steaks, 5 baked potatoes, 5 pieces chocolate cake. SIXTH CHANGE: No resentment Joseph was testing them for jealousy, were they as envious of Benjamin as they had been of him, did they treat him harshly? Lunch proved No, they weren’t resentful, they just “feasted, shared, drank freely” (Genesis 43:34). There’s One more test, would they abandon the favored son?
Time to go home, they left Joseph in great spirits, probably congratulating themselves on how well they’d done, gotten a great meal, grain, all 11 were going home, when God suddenly struck like lightning and completely, literally turned the course of their lives, used a hidden cup in one of sacks to
7. Stripping their self-confidence READ Genesis 43:4,5
Even though they had lived with a lie for 20 years they told Joseph Genesis 42:11 “we are honest men” Here when the steward accused them of stealing Joseph’s cup, they say “no way, not us, we’d never do that, in fact if anyone here is found with it, let them die, we’ll all be your slaves” (Genesis 44:7-9) Then to everyone’s surprise they find the cup in Benjamin’s sack, return to Joseph, he asks what have you done? SEVENTH CHANGE: open admission of guilt/family loyalty. READ Genesis 44:16. These men are broken, ready to become slaves, one more test. READ Genesis 44:17 only Benjamin stays, rest of you go home, Judah steps up to the plate, hits grand slam of brotherly love
READ Genesis 44:18-30 Judah’s plea
The room that had been so quiet you could hear a pin drop, now is filled with shouts “Out, out, everybody out” and crying, so loudly that you could hear it 2 blocks away. READ Genesis 45:3.
I am Joseph, brothers are speechless, terrified, they knew they had done a horrific wrong to one who now had absolute power. Where the average person would have done some kind of payback, tried to humiliate his brothers in some way, Joseph offered pardon, forgiveness and love because Joseph has a “God perspective on life”. READ Genesis 45:5-8
He understood that a Sovereign God saw the future, saw the needs of the world, chose him to help solve the famine problem. God had a great purpose for his life even though they had meant it for evil.
Offers them Complete forgiveness READ Genesis 45:14,15. Being reconciled with Joseph meant that the brothers could be fully reconciled with Jacob, the long family secret could be revealed and forgiven. Joseph says “Go get dad” Genesis 45:9 Pharaoh gives his help Genesis 45:16-20. They set off donkeys and with wagons full of food, clothes, money, this family will be reunited again.
Application: As you have worked through this lesson, listened to the story I wonder has God been speaking to you personally? Is there an old sin, perhaps it too is linked w/your family, parents, siblings, children, or not w/them but w/others; neighbors, past co-workers; maybe it’s a sin against God, pushed it as far away as you can, this week you’ve had a hard time not thinking about it. Has God given you a need, on-going need, a famine to bring you back into fellowship w/them and Him? Maybe you’ve recently experienced an injustice God is allowing you to experience what it’s like to be on the receiving end of suffering to see your own sin. Are you facing solitude prison of sorts, loneliness, illness, God wants you to grow closer to Him, escape the slavery to things, people, places, depend only on Him. Maybe you’ve gone through something recently that has really shaken you self-confidence, you feel weak, discouraged, God wants you in the depth of your being to find confidence in Him, His ways alone. Tough times are not always proof of past sin, wrong theology. But if tough times have come into your life, God has allowed it- He has a purpose. Maybe it’s to cause you to look back, examine your heart, is there some hidden sin you’re guilty of- maybe you have been like Judah, Reuben, brothers- God is awakening your conscience- Confess it, repent, don’t carry it any longer. Or Perhaps you’ve been wronged like Joseph, ask have you fully forgiven? Not enough to say “I forgive you” saw the 4 promises in your lesson: (list them). What acts of kindness have you shown to that person who wronged you?
God’s aim for our families, us is the same-reconciliation, restoration, devotion, love. Bible is realistic:
NIV© Romans 12:18 - If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
The brothers return home, tell Jacob about Joseph, he is convinced and packs up to go see his son, regardless of cost
Jacob stops in Beersheba to worship God, this is as far south as you can go within the Promised Land, boundary line, also family history here, Abraham, Isaac lived here, worshiped here. In the night God comes to Jacob READ Genesis 46:3,4 For anyone on the verge of a major decision, it’s good to go to Beersheba, seek God’s will, His direction, remember God will be w/you not only in your Egypt but wherever He send
You don’t have to be afraid either, because
I love airport meetings, I love to watch people reunite, embrace, weepy too, especially seeing our service men/women come home, this is the best airport meeting ever, Jacob and his son Joseph after 20 years READ Genesis 46:29,30. For Jacob this reunion was the impossible dream he had, the dream of seeing Joseph alive again. For Joseph this is was the one person who had always loved him unconditionally one person always count on. This was more than a family reunion, it was proof that God’s revealed plans and purposes would come true in the family of the covenant. This story reminds us of a family reunion awaiting us. We don’t know exactly when it will happen but Paul tells us there is coming a day when all believers who have ever lived throughout time will be reunited w/Christ when he comes for us. READ I Thessalonians 4:13-18.
Just as there is a list of 70 names of family members who are reunited in Egypt, there is a list of names of all God’s family who will be at the heavenly reunion, Book of Life = Rev 20:12-15. Are you sure your name is written on that list? If not, talk, call me, Peggy.
Before they could get settled in Goshen, Joseph’s relatives had to be formally presented to Pharaoh. Picture the scene, relatively uncultured nomadic shepherds being introduced at the White House. Joseph prepares them the best he can, Pharaoh is so gracious to them receives Jacob’s blessing.
READ Genesis 47:11,12…just as God had planned…
Ending: Whether God gives you a little pop quiz or a long end of the year final exam I pray that you will trust His good plans for you, believe His love for you, allow Him to change your life too.