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Joseph Helped His Family

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Today we are continuing the story of Joseph. We will see how Joseph was able to help his brothers during the seven year famine.

Joseph’s Life Before Egypt:

The happy seven years of plenty had come and gone. It was now the seven years of famine. People were coming to Egypt from all over to purchase food for themselves and their families.
Joseph, who was put second-in-charge by Pharaoh, listened to what God showed him about Pharaoh’s dream, and therefore stored up plenty of food for the famine.
Now, one really important part of the story that we haven’t touched on yet was what happened before Joseph got to Egypt.
You see: Joseph was the favorite son. His father Jacob loved him greatly. In fact, he gave him a very special gift that none of Joseph’s brothers received: a coat of many colors (if you’ve heard this story before, you know about that!)
Genesis 37:3-9 NLT
3 Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph— a beautiful robe.
4 But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.
5 One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever.
6 “Listen to this dream,” he said.
7 “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”
8 His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.
9 Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. “Listen, I have had another dream,” he said. “The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me!”
Joseph’s brothers were jealous of all the attention and love that Joseph got… they were so jealous, and so mad, that they… they… well, let’s see what happens next.
Joseph’s dad sent him out to his brothers in the pasture where their father’s flock was to go check on them and report back to him how they were doing.
Genesis 37:18-24 NLT
18 When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him.
19 “Here comes the dreamer!” they said.
20 “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!”
21 But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Joseph’s rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said.
22 “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.
23 So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing.
24 Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.
Later, a group of people called the Ishmaelites were traveling by, and the brothers had an idea...
Genesis 37:26-28 NLT
26 Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime.
27 Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed.
28 So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.
Then the people who Jospeh was sold to ended up selling him to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s officers (where Joseph eventually got thrown into prison because Potiphar’s wife wanted to be with Joseph and lied that he wanted to be with her too)

Joseph Helps His Family

Now, back to where we left off.
Joseph’s father learned that there was food in Egypt and sent his sons to go buy some. Guess who was there selling the food? Joseph, that’s right!
Ten of Joseph’s brothers went to get the food, but one of them, Benjamin, was kept back by his father because he was afraid something would happen to him.
The brothers arrived in Egypt and were wanting to buy food. He recognized them, but they did not recognize him. Let’s read what happens next:
Genesis 42:8-21 NLT
8 Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they didn’t recognize him.
9 And he remembered the dreams he’d had about them many years before. He said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.”
10 “No, my lord!” they exclaimed. “Your servants have simply come to buy food.
11 We are all brothers—members of the same family. We are honest men, sir! We are not spies!”
12 “Yes, you are!” Joseph insisted. “You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.”
13 “Sir,” they said, “there are actually twelve of us. We, your servants, are all brothers, sons of a man living in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is back there with our father right now, and one of our brothers is no longer with us.”
14 But Joseph insisted, “As I said, you are spies!
15 This is how I will test your story. I swear by the life of Pharaoh that you will never leave Egypt unless your youngest brother comes here!
16 One of you must go and get your brother. I’ll keep the rest of you here in prison. Then we’ll find out whether or not your story is true. By the life of Pharaoh, if it turns out that you don’t have a younger brother, then I’ll know you are spies.”
17 So Joseph put them all in prison for three days.
18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “I am a God-fearing man. If you do as I say, you will live.
19 If you really are honest men, choose one of your brothers to remain in prison. The rest of you may go home with grain for your starving families.
20 But you must bring your youngest brother back to me. This will prove that you are telling the truth, and you will not die.” To this they agreed.
21 Speaking among themselves, they said, “Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this trouble.”
Joseph then ordered his servants to fill their sacks with food and also return their money back to them that they used to get food.
Think about how easily Joseph could have gotten back at his brothers. Imagine the revenge he could’ve gotten! But what did Joseph do? He helped them. He showed them kindness. He gave them food.
Joseph made the right choice, even when he could have chosen otherwise.

Bottom Line

Our bottom line today is: God can help us make the right choices.
When faced with the decision to help his brothers or not, Joseph chose to help them.
You and I are faced with choices we have to make each and every day. What we should do and what we should want to do is make the right choices that please God.
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