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The brothers come to Egypt

Gen. 41:53-42:5

This is my Bible, I am what it says I am, I can do what it says I can do, Today I will be taught the word of God, My mind is alert, My heart is receptive, I will never be the same in Jesus name. -Dr. Mark Livingston

Gen. 41:53-42:5

“The seven years of plenty that occurred in the land of Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. There was famine in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. 55 When all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph. What he says to you, do.”
56 So when the famine had spread over all the land, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe in the land of Egypt. 57 Moreover, all the earth came to Egypt to Joseph to buy grain, because the famine was severe over all the earth.
42:1 When Jacob learned that there was grain for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” And he said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain for sale in Egypt. Go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die.” So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with his brothers, for he feared that harm might happen to him. Thus the sons of Israel came to buy among the others who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan.”
-We don’t know famine aside from sad commercials from unicef or missionary slide shows.
-We are blessed, a blessed nation, a blessed people
-Even during this time of the Corona virus, we can still see how we are blessed.
-There may come a day when we experience real famine, I fear this little test has shown us a lot about ourselves and how we would respond as a nation.
-The question is, how will you respond as an individual. What if we were 3 months into a 7 year famine?
-That’s what Pharaoh, Joseph, Jacob and his sons are facing. When Jacob and his family finally move to Egypt in Chapter 45, There are still 5 years of famine left to go.
-Preparing for today, you don’t realize the many lessons we can learn from Joseph’s story.
-Most of the time the focus is on:
Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
-While that is a central lesson to the whole story of Joseph, It’s not the only lesson
-In the text we just read: The seven years of plenty has come to an end and the famine has begun.
-We are far enough into the famine that Jacob is considering if his family will “live or die”
-This isn’t a mad rush on toilet paper and sanitary wipes. Jacob is beginning to see days of hunger ahead/ if he isn’t already feeling the pains.
-This is a real famine, The Spring rains that generally flood the Nile river basin have failed and there is no planting or harvesting of any crops, the livestock have no grain and things have gotten serious.
-While this is happening, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Issachar, Zebulun and Gad. Are doing nothing.
42:1 “Why do you look at one another?”
-There is no way none of these guys have heard about the grain available in Egypt.
-They had heard about it, the problem is Egypt: The place they had 20 years ago sent their brother Joseph.
-The brothers have a sin issue that has not been dealt with. And every time they hear Egypt, or Slave, or Pit it’s like salt in an open womb.
-In an already difficult household, they now have been unable to look in their fathers eyes for 20 years.
-Sin does not let go on it’s own: You may suppress it, hide it, avoid it or disguise it for awhile but it will not let go. Apart from the cleansing blood of Jesus.
-Jacob doesn’t give them an option, “Go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die.”
-But Jacob does not send Benjamin. because; “He feared that harm might happen to him.”
-It seems like Jacob is suspicious of sending his now favorite son on a trip with the brothers
-Last time Joseph didn’t return
-When you read the whole story in one sitting, it’s obvious Jacob is playing favorites again, He really doesn’t want to let Benjamin out of his sight.
-Benjamin is Joseph’s full blooded brother. Both born to Rachael the wife Jacob loved.
-So the brothers go to Egypt and in v6 “And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground.”
-It’s close and it reminds us of Joseph’s first dream but it’s not time yet, In the first dream all his brothers bow before him.
-Joseph sees his brothers and recognizes them, but he treats them like strangers
-He treats them rough, “Where do you come from.”
-The brothers are aged but mostly unchanged. Joseph is shaved, wearing, Jewelry, make up, Egyptian kingly attire, and speaking a different language. It’s no surprise they could not recognize him.
v9 “And Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed of them. And he said to them, ‘You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land.”
-You have come to see our weakness
-No! We need food!
-There was probably a ration of food based on the size of the family.
-”We, your servants are twelve brothers, the sons of one man.
-The youngest is there with our father, and one is no more.
-They are in Egypt, have traveled past the slave fields, There is no doubt Joseph is heavy on their minds and hearts.
-Joseph continues the charade, No, you are spies,
-I’ll keep all in prison until one of you can provide proof what you say is true.
-He throws them all in prison for three days
v18 “On the third day Joseph said to them, Do this and you will live, for I fear God: if you are honest men, let one of your brothers remain confined where you are in custody, and let the rest go and carry grain for the famine of your households, and bring your youngest brother to me. So your words will be verified, and you shall not die.”
-Keep in mind all the conversations between Joseph and his brothers are through a translator. Joseph is speaking Egyptian and the brothers are speaking Hebrew. They are don’t realize he can understand what they are saying.
v21-22 “Then they said to one another, In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.” And Reuben answered them, Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy? But you did not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood.”
-Uh Oh, what’s happening here? The brothers give a jail cell confession.
-“We are guilty” The first step to salvation is that acknowledgement.
-I am guilty- The hardest three words to speak.
-To your friend, your spouse, your kids, yourself or to the LORD.
-I am guilty- The most healing three words to speak.
-Healing can’t begin until you can speak those three words. I AM Guilty
-To the man lost as Satan or the Saint who has stumbled.
-Rom 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
- The brothers have been hiding from this guilt for 20 years.
-Life doesn’t stop when you are harboring sin, But it also isn’t complete
-It may not be obvious to others, you may have perfected your ability to hide your sin.
-This would be horrible news, but
Rom 3:24 “and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”
There is no sin so small it can be ignored, nor sin so great it can not be forgiven!
-So the brothers acknowledge their wrong and in the process give us insight into the day they threw Joseph into the pit.
-”We saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen.”
-Do you remember what they were doing? Eating a bologna sandwich.
-They remember his cries, his pleading, how it broke his soul.
v23 “They did not know that Joseph understood them, for there was an interpreter between them. Then he turned away from them and wept. And he returned to them and spoke to them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes.”
-As they are remembering that day, So is Joseph
-There are a lot of things happening in this story, Remember what Joseph named his first son?
-Manassah: God has caused me to forget.
-Joseph hasn’t been holding a grudge waiting for this day to finally come.
-But hearing the story no doubt stirred a lot of emotions.
v25 “And Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, and replace every man’s money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. This was done for them.”
-Joseph needs to know, have his brothers really changed?
-As they travel back, the weight of guilt, the loss of another brother
-It’s about a four day journey, they stop for the night and feed their animals and find the money.
v28 “He said to his brothers, “My money has been put back; here it is in the mouth of my sack!” At this their hearts failed them, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, “What is this that God has done to us?”
-Their families are starving, They had a four day journey to Egypt, The man in charge accused them of being spies, and put them in jail for three days then he challenged them to prove their story, They had a real encounter with their sin guilt, They have left Simeon behind and will have to explain that to Jacob and now on their four day journey home they discover the money that was supposed to pay for the grain is in their sacks. It was more than they could stand.
-Their hearts failed them: doesn’t mean they all keeled over right there
-But it does mean they hit bottom. And when you hit bottom the only place to look is up.
-”What is this that God has done to us?
-God has sent Joseph to Egypt because he was going to send a famine
-God has used this famine to draw a bunch of misfit brothers together
-God has used the famine to get those same brothers to look at their spiritual condition
-God has used the famine to teach Joseph Patience, love and forgiveness
-We are going to see God use this famine to move Jacobs heart away from his son to his LORD
-We are seeing God use this famine to save a nation and preserve the lineage of the King of kings
-The brothers ask a legitimate question: “What has God done to us?
-When, it seems like everything is caving in,
-Like everything is completely going and consistently going wrong
-Like the load is becoming too much to bear.
-There is no promise given to never give you more than you can bear, The promise is to always provide a way of escape.
-Don’t get caught up in emotions or self reliance, Ask this same question. “What has God done?”
-Do you have unrepentant sin: Address that,
-Is he pointing you in a direction?
-Is he correcting some area of your life?
-Is he training you for some future work
-He may be just honing your skills,
-Whatever is going on in your life, God has a plan and he is working HIS plan
-God is a loving God, He is also a righteous and Jealous God and he has and will bring hard times on HIS people in order to become their main focus.
-That is at least a part of what is happening here in Joseph’s story, God is getting some peoples attention.
-What’s he gotta do to get your attention?
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