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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

October 26, 2016

Genesis 44:14-45:9

  1. One of the things I have come to know is that you have to interpret the tough and difficult times in your life by the end and not the beginning or the middle. It is almost as if you have to wait for all the evidence to come in and the jury to finish deliberating before you make your judgment on how things really are. What I mean is that Joseph, at the end of our text, will describe his ordeal from an eternal perspective not a momentary and temporal perspective. He will gather all that has happened to him and interpret that it was God all the time orchestrating the good and the bad for a greater good. It would have been difficult to interpret his situation in this way earlier in his life, but he waited trusting that God was in control. I believe this is the most difficult thing to do in our lives. Joseph shows us that the only thing you can do is just wait for God to show up and in the meantime just stay obedient. Joseph didn’t compromise, he didn't stop trusting God. He stayed true to God through the good and the bad. Joseph becomes for us a model of faith that is better than Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Each one of the aforementioned compromised at a crucial point in their life, but not Joseph. Joseph stayed true, and it was his obedience that brought about the deliverance of his people.

  2. Chapter 44 Verses 14-17. Joseph has his steward run after his brothers, and they were accused of stealing. The brothers could not believe that the property of Joseph was found in their belongings. They did not know the identity of their brother at this point. They are dismayed and return to the house of Joseph downcast at the idea that this trouble has befallen them. Once they return to the house, Joseph continues his act of pretending not to know who they are and tells them they should have known he would find out about their theft. We know that the brothers didn't actually steal anything and that Joseph didn't get this information because he was psychic. He was doing all this to feel his brothers out before he would reveal himself to them. He had to know what kind of men they were. Would they be men who would run from trouble and responsibility or had they matured and changed? Joseph’s brother, Judah, is highly apologetic and tells Joseph that they will all be his slaves due to the incident. Joseph declares that he doesn't want them all to be slaves, just his younger brother Benjamin.

  3. Verses 18-33. Judah begins to tell Joseph how difficult a plight this situation presents. Judah recounts the story of them coming to Egypt to get food and their first encounter with the governor, Joseph, and how he inquired of their parents. Judah continues to tell of how they returned home without their brother and how their father was upset about the prospects of sending his youngest son back to Egypt. Judah lets Joseph know that returning to his father without the younger brother would kill their father. He pleads with Joseph and shares how this would be a worst fate than slavery. Noticed how this response is so different now. Before Judah wasn't all that concerned about his dad's grief when they sold their brother Joseph years ago. They weren't concerned about anything except their own pleasure. They have matured now and other people are their concern. Instead of letting their younger brother be a slave they are willing to be slaves themselves.

  4. Chapter 45:1-9. We are getting to the climax of this story. After hearing his older brother’s contrite spirit, Joseph is overwhelmed with emotion and orders all of his servants out of the house so he can reveal himself to his brothers. Joseph could not contain himself any longer. He had waited for this moment. He had hoped to be reunited with his family. His heart had long been open to forgiveness because he knew from an eternal perceptive why God allowed his trouble. Joseph had long since seen the big picture and wanted his brothers to receive the blessing and renewal that he had. Joseph is not only a model of faith, but he is also a model of forgiveness. Joseph excused all of his servants before he revealed his identity to his brothers (44:34). He did this because his desire was to move his entire family to Egypt. And when his family arrived he didn't want everyone in Egypt to know what they had done. Joseph wanted his brothers to come to Egypt and be loved and admired by the Egyptians. He chose to protect them and guard their reputations. Since God forgives our sins and removes them “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps 103:12), why not protect those that you are in individual conflict with? After identifying himself to his brothers and asking about his father, Joseph urged his brothers to come close to him. Love keeps no records of wrong (1 Cor 13:5). One of the proofs that Joseph had forgiven his brothers was that he didn't want them to be angry with themselves. That is the way God forgives. He forgives completely and unconditionally. Joseph does not diminish what the brothers did (“you sold me into Egypt”), but he puts it into the right perspective: “God sent me ahead of you to saves lives.” Nowhere in this chapter was the sin of his brothers minimized. Yet, Joseph allowed his brothers to have some dignity by focusing on God's sovereignty.

  5. We will end on the issue of God's sovereignty. God is in control. God has a plan for your entire life, not just a plan for a moment in our life, but a plan for our entire lives. Many times it is hard to understand how God is working out his plan in our lives. I mean we know he has a plan. We know God is working in our lives, but the how is sometimes hard to comprehend. But I have learned that God is using everything we go through, every good thing and every not so good thing, to get us to our destiny. So many of us have been troubled by some of life's most difficult moments, not understanding that difficulty is a key ingredient in moving to the next level in our destiny. Our lives are like a movie. There are many still shots that make up a movie, hundreds of thousands of stills that are put together that make a film or a movie. Our lives are like a film. Our lives are made up of hundreds of thousands of moments that have been put together to make an entire work of art. You could not take one of those still shots and get the entire story. You cannot get a still shot from a movie and tell what is going to happen. The still shot is just not enough to determine what is really going on in that movie. Our lives are the same way. If you took a still shot at a particular point in our lives you might get a distorted view of what we are and what we could be. If I took a still shot of my childhood you might only see a skinny kid with a reading problem. If I took a still shot of Maggie Walker, you might only see a woman with a few pennies. If I took a still shot of David, you might only see a shepherd boy. If I took a still shot of Noah, you might only see a drunk. If I took a still shot of Jacob, you might only see a trickster. If I took a still shot of Hannah, you might only see a desperate woman, If I took a still shot of Mary and Martha you might only see two sister’s grieving over Lazarus their dead brother. Beloved you have to see the big pictures. You can't pause the tape and not see the rest. Too many of us pause the tape of our lives at a difficult moment, not realizing that there is more to come. Some of us have paused the tape at a tough moment and we can't resume play. We are paused by life’s tough moments, but I have come today to let you know that God has a plan for all of it. You have to see the big picture.

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