The Life of Joseph - Lesson 29, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
At our mid-week service our Pastor explained Biblical dispensations to us.
The period of the dispensation of Promise included the period of Joseph's life and the bondage to come, in Egypt.
He showed that the dispensation consisted of three parts.
The responsibility God gave Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was to dwell in Canaan, the failure was that they dwelt in Egypt, and the judgment from this failure was bondage in Egypt.
We must keep this in mind because it appears the going to Egypt was a good thing for it saved the posterity of Jacob.
However we must also remember that if Jacob and his sons would have been faithful in Canaan in the first place God would not have needed to bring them to Egypt and separate them so he could have made of them a great nation.
If they would have been faithful in Canaan to maintain separation he would have made of them a great nation there without them having to be in bondage in Egypt for 400 years.
Egypt was to be a place of discipline and enforced separation because they did not voluntarily separate themselves in Canaan. Yes, God saved the posterity of Jacob but only because it needed saving because of Jacob and his sons failure.
Genesis 44:18-34, Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord's ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh. My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother? And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him. And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him. And we said unto my lord, The lad cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die. And thou saidst unto thy servants, Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more. And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. And our father said, Go again, and buy us a little food. And we said, We cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down: for we may not see the man's face, except our youngest brother be with us. And thy servant my father said unto us, Ye know that my wife bare me two sons: And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since: And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad's life; It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave. For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever. Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.
The Judah that we see here is not the same Judah that we spent time with in Chapter 38.
This is a remarkable Judah for God has worked a work of grace in his heart.
This is the same man who cared nothing about the grief he had caused his father.
But now we see a Judah who is a man fit for leadership.
His intercession for his brother reveals great love for Benjamin and great love and concern for his father.
And it was this plea that melted Joseph's heart and convinced Joseph of the complete repentance Judah exhibited.
Repentance was past and it was now time for reconciliation.
Genesis 45:1-3, Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence.
Joseph can no longer keep himself from his brothers.
He cannot contain himself emotionally any longer but must reveal himself to them.
As Christ will suddenly appear to the Jews and have their eyes opened so Joseph suddenly appears to his brothers and their eyes are opened to the truth.
They shall look on him whom they pierced.
And notice who looks on him.
Only his own look on him.
For this is a family only scene.
Everybody that is not in the family is to be excused.
Cause every man to go out from me.
Joseph is not there to welcome everybody but only those who are his brothers.
He is there to bring comfort and exaltation to them alone for he has found his brothers humbled for their sins.
He has heard Judah's words of tenderness toward Benjamin and Jacob and his pleas to let Benjamin go and instead keep him as a servant substituting for Benjamin.
And as Christ makes himself and his loving kindness known to his people out of sight and out of the hearing of the world so we see here Joseph, a type of Christ, presenting that same pattern.
Joseph was so overwhelmed with joy that he wept and he wept so loud that his weeping was heard throughout the house.
Again he had placed his brothers in a state of awe and confusion.
At every situation with Joseph they were off balance, mentally tottering over a precipice.
As Christ answered an astounded Paul on the road to Damascus with the simple statement "I am Jesus," here we see Joseph revealing himself to astounded brothers with the simple statement "I am Joseph"
And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence.
This word troubled means terrified.
Wouldn't you be terrified to face that one that you almost murdered and then sold into slavery?
Wouldn't you be thrown off balance being unsure where this would all lead to?
What should the brothers expect from his hand?
Terrified is exactly what Israel will be when Jesus Christ returns at the end of the tribulation.
They will be terrified for they shall then look on him whom they have pierced.
And here we see the brothers looking on him whom upon whom they have done evil.
And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence.
So in verse one we see Joseph not being able to restrain himself and here in verse 3 his brothers cannot speak because of their terror.
But Joseph was there to dispel their terror:
Genesis 45:4-8, And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
This story is living out the verse in:
Rom 8:28 which tells us: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Was it good that Joseph was cast into the pit?
Was it good that Joseph was ripped apart from his father and his family?
Was it good that Joseph was sold into slavery?
Was it good that Jacob suffered the loss of Joseph's companionship for 22 years?
Was it good that Joseph was accused falsely by Potiphar's wife?
Was it good that Joseph spent years in prison?
No, most would agree and say no to each one of these things.
Most would say no if they looked only at each thing.
Some, who went through what Joseph went through, would curse God as a vindictive God.
But God looks on the whole of things
(for he sees the beginning from the end)
and he declares that for those that he calls, for those that love him, all things, including those things that befell Joseph and Jacob, work together for good.
And Joseph declares that to his brothers.
Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: (now here is the rest of the story) for God did send me before you to preserve life.
And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
This posterity was not only in jeopardy from the famine but it was in jeopardy from this family's lack of separation from the world and the lack of dedication to God.
These brothers would have soon been consumed into the culture of Canaan and that is the last anyone would have heard of them had it not been for God separating them in Egypt.
God will preserve his people!
It is wonderful to have faith and to know that even in going through those things that are not good, we know that God is in charge and he will bring about good to those that he calls.
This is the perspective that a child of God is to have.
This is the perspective that eyes of faith see for the eyes of faith are clean to see by the washing of the word of God.
Only by the washing of the word of God can eyes be made to see.
Man may exercise every kind of wrath against the child of God, he may do all things to him but our God shall take that wrath and work things so that that wrath shall praise him.
For we are told in Psalm 76:10, Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.