The Life of Joseph - Lesson 50, Continuing the Life of Joseph in Egypt.
Genesis 50:12,13, And his sons did unto him according as he commanded them: For his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field for a possession of a buryingplace of Ephron the Hittite, before Mamre.
Genesis 50:14,15, And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father. And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.
Despite the assurances of the past Joseph’s brothers start to question the grace that Joseph has displayed these past 17 years.
It appears that for these years they had trusted in their father Jacob’s presence for their safety, not completely believing that one like Joseph could be so full of grace.
They saw that their father was dead means that they realized the full impact of his absence.
Did his presence have a restraining influence on Joseph?
And if so that restraining influence of Jacob was gone and they were alone with the brother that they had mistreated so long ago.
Yes, he had forgiven and kissed them and he had said "God sent me before you to preserve life".
He had never expressed otherwise in any of his dealings with them these past 17 years.
There was no reason for them to doubt his sincerity.
There was nothing in Joseph’s relationship with them that should support this unbelief in him.
This was simply a slander on the character of Joseph, as is all unbelief in the person and the nature of God.
So we see here in this passage how slow of heart it is for the natural man to recognize grace.
And also how imbedded the conscience is.
How hard it is to accept something without the deep desire to pay for it.
How many of us and others who profess faith in Christ have doubts from time to time of the completeness of the forgiveness of God.
It is too good to be true the natural mind thinks.
So the natural mind dredges up a remembrance of forgiven sin while God has not knowledge of forgiven sin.
God says I don’t know what you are talking about!
How hard it is for some to believe in the eternal security of the believer.
But not to believe is to enter into the equation of grace my own works.
Perhaps Joseph’s brothers for years harbored doubts in Joseph’s grace and Jacob’s death brought the doubts to the fore.
Danger lurked because of these doubts.
What will happen to us now?
Now that Jacob is gone will this be payback time now?
Will Joseph now wreak his vengeance on us?
Has he been waiting for this time for 17 years?
He certainly is in a position of power to do anything he wishes.
As Jesus Christ is also in a position to carry out vengeance on those who mistreated him, on those who crucified him.
But God’s grace is sure and as a type of Christ Joseph’s grace is sure.
It is obvious from the narrative that the brothers concern for their safety had been discussed with Jacob before he died.
Perhaps Jacob had brought it up noticing that there was a divide between Joseph and his brothers that was not yet completely closed.
Jacob either was asked or he had offered his counsel on how to handle this inevitability.
So we are told in:
Genesis 50:16-17, And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
Jacob, in advanced age, had displayed wisdom that he had not displayed in his dealings with his brother Esau, before he ran away to Haran, fearing that Esau would kill him.
He did not face Esau at that time but later faced him when he returned from Haran with his wives and children.
His wisdom given to his sons before he died is to face their problem head on.
You boys still feel guilty.
Perhaps you have not confessed your sin to your brother Joseph as you should have.
Send an emissary to him and admit your trespass, (rebellion) your sin (offense) and your evil (adversity) to him and seek his forgiveness.
Tell him that you too are servants of the same God that he serves.
Servants of the God of his father, servants of the God of your father, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and in doing so seek his forgiveness and be cleansed of your guilt.
The message, with its mention of Jacob’s name, the one who commanded the sons to seek forgiveness, immediately touches the heart of Joseph.
And Joseph wept as they spake unto him.
By the way this is the seventh occasion in this story where it is recorded that Joseph wept.
What was in Joseph’s heart to bring about weeping?
Certainly he was moved because of his father’s love to all his children.
What father does not desire all his children to love one another?
But Joseph had forgiven his brothers long ago.
Was this simply a distrust of Joseph that he was commanded to forgive again?
What ever the case Joseph was moved to do what would comfort his brothers and provide solace to them that would erase any guilt they felt.
Genesis 50:18, And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
How could he not weep as he again sees his brothers prostrate before his feet.
How often this had happened in fulfillment of the message of his boyhood dreams.
And each brother who offended, seeks in humble submission, Joseph’s forgiveness for his rebellion, his offense and all the adversity he had caused Joseph.
Each brother offers himself to be a slave to Joseph.
Here we are ready to be thy slaves.
But Joseph has a full understanding of this situation and of the events of the past for he says in: