Year 2 Day 297
Read - Genesis 45
Message - Scott Woodburn
As a child I loved nothing more to curl up on the sofa and watch an episode of Scooby Doo. Scooby was a dog who would solve mysteries with his human friends and each episode would finish with a great reveal. The monster wasn’t real, the ghost was fake and the dinosaur hadn’t stolen the diamonds - behind each mystery was a human in a mask. The mask would be removed to reveal the true culprit and Scooby and his friends would go on their merry way.
Genesis 45 is the great reveal in Joseph’s story. He had been on an incredible journey which had seen him rejected by his family. They sought to murder him but sold him into slavery instead. He had prospered in Egypt yet at the same time had spent some time in prison. There had been ups and downs, twists and turns but ultimately the Lord had provided for his every step. As this chapter begins, Joseph’s emotions come pouring out. All of the years of sadness and frustration result in Joseph weeping so loudly that many people heard the tears of Joseph.
Finally with tears on his face he revealed to his brothers that he was their long lost brother Joseph. They were dismayed at this news (v3), not because Joseph was alive and their plot had failed but because the Lord had brought them to a place of shame and repentance. Their actions were disgraceful and they knew that full well.
If his brothers were distraught at their wicked actions towards Joseph, he was full of forgiveness and grace. He reported to them the whole story. He wasn’t full of rancour or accusations. He didn’t demand that they spend time in prison or lick his boots. Joseph had forgiven his brothers. Indeed as he spoke to them he helped them to see that behind their family story was the providential hand of Almighty God.
God had sent Joseph to preserve his brothers lives (v5). God had sent Joseph to Egypt in order to preserve a remnant of his people on the earth (v7). It was the Lord who had sent Joseph to Egypt - not his brothers (v8) and it was the Lord who had given Joseph favour in the eyes of Pharaoh (v8b). Joseph’s retelling of family history put the Lord front and centre. The brothers may have thought they were in control but they were sadly mistaken.
There was no vengeance from Joseph, instead he urged his brothers to return home and bring his father Israel and all of their belongings to Egypt (v10). There were to be a further five years of famine and Joseph would care for his family. With all said that needed to be said, Joseph and his brothers wept together and talked together. Reconciliation had come to the house of Israel.
Amazingly, Joseph was so well regarded in Egypt that even the Egyptians rejoiced when they heard about the Israel family reunion (v16). So much so that they sent the brothers home to Canaan with provisions, wagons and “the best of all the land of Egypt” (v20). Joseph sent his brothers on their way commanding them not to waste time in quarrelling (v24) - they were to move quickly and bring Israel and his family to the land of the Pharaohs.
When Jacob heard the news he didn’t believe it (v26) - but when all was reported to him and he saw the bountiful harvest from Egypt (v27) he decreed “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”
There are some exceedingly brutal chapters in Genesis but this isn’t one of them. Genesis 45 overflows with the exceedingly glorious provision of Almighty God. The Joseph story had taken years to unfold but in every day, every week, every month, every year, God was at work to bring favour, forgiveness and reconciliation to the family of Israel. In response we too consider God’s providential care in our own lives. He guides us, protects us, governs us and loves us. How should we respond? By forgiving those who have wronged us and by being reconciled to those who have sought previously to harm us. Such actions are costly but they do not compare to the cost of Christ at Calvary. So precious church of Christ, as we have been reconciled to God by the blood of Jesus, may we be reconciled to one another and may the pagan world be amazed when love overflows in the church - for Christ’s sake.
Q57 Which is the fourth commandment? The fourth commandment is, Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath-day, and hallowed it.