Year 2 Day 290
Read - Genesis 42
Message - Scott Woodburn
God had given Joseph wisdom that had prepared Egypt for severe famine and providentially it forced his brothers to make a journey to the land of the pyramids. Jacob knew that there was much grain in Egypt and so he sent his all of sons except Benjamin to buy food (v1-5).
Joseph’s brothers had once upon a time conspired to kill him but mercifully Reuben had stood up for his brother and so Joseph had been sold into slavery instead. As far as the brothers were concerned Joseph was dead and gone. Did they ever think about him? Did they regret their actions when they witnessed their father’s grief? Only God knows but He would use their predicament to bring them to a place of repentance.
Joseph recognised his brothers immediately but they didn’t recognise him (v8). He began to test them by speaking to them harshly (v7) and then accusing them of being spies (v9). The Lord was working through Joseph to arouse his brother’s guilt and remorse. They didn’t remember their brother but would they remember their guilt? Slowly but surely the Lord broke up their hard hearts.
Jacob’s sons protested that they were not spies but step by step they began to reveal truth. They declared themselves to be the sons of one man (v11). Joseph prodded again accusing the brothers of coming to spy out the land (v12). Once more the brothers protested their innocence and again they stressed that they were the sons of one man who had twelve sons. One of those sons remained at home in Canaan whilst one other son was no more (v13). Little did they know that they stood before the son who was no more!
The brothers had spoken truthfully but their time of testing wasn’t over. Joseph stressed that they wouldn’t leave Egypt unless their youngest brother (still in Canaan) was brought to Joseph. To give them time to consider their options, he put his brothers into custody (v14-17). Three days later, Joseph returned to his brothers and reiterated the accusation that they were spies. He urged one of them to stay behind in Egypt and for the others to go and later return with Benjamin. If they agreed to this it would surely be a sign of their truthfulness (v18-20).
It was at this stage that the wall started to crumble as the brothers began to remember what they had done to Joseph. He had begged them not to harm him and yet they hadn’t listened. They had treated him abysmally and lied to their father about his fate. They were not the honest men that they claimed (v11). There could be no justification for how they treated Joseph and now they realised that their actions had repercussions (v21-22).
Joseph heard every word and turned away from his brothers and wept. He gave orders that Simeon would stay in Egypt while the others would return to Canaan. Joseph’s staff filled the brother’s bags with grain, replaced their money and gave them provisions for their journey (v25).
As they made their way home one of them discovered the replenished money in his sack. It struck fear and awe into the family. What was going on? Who had put their money back? What was God doing to them? Finally they explained the whole situation to their father Jacob. The chapter comes to a close with Jacob uncertain about sending Benjamin to Egypt - he couldn’t bear to lose another son. But Reuben was absolutely determined to travel back down the road even saying that his own two sons could be killed if he didn’t bring Benjamin home safely. Reuben seems to be the voice of his brothers and his voice wants to put right what the brothers had done wrong.
Brothers and sisters are you crippled with guilt? Have you been doing your best to forget your words and actions from twenty years ago? Does it seem that every sermon seems to poke you right where it hurts? The Lord is gracious in how he deals with us but at times He brings us to a place that is deeply uncomfortable. Slowly but surely God shows us our sin and brings us to a place of repentance. My friends begin this new year delighting in the grace of God. Repent today and repent tomorrow and always be determined to repent. Fall before the Lord seeking his forgiveness - we are not good people with pure motives, we are desperate sinners in need of grace. Forgive your brothers and sisters and cancel all grudges and gripes - forgive as you have been forgiven. Repent for “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1v9)
Q51 What is forbidden in the second commandment? The second commandment forbiddeth the worshipping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his Word.