Summary: In this lesson we see the wrong way Joseph's brothers dealt with their guilt, and we learn the right way to handle guilt through God's remedy.


A. The story is told of a man who entered a high class restaurant, bought a drink and then immediately threw it into the waiter’s face.

1. Quickly grabbing a napkin, he helped the waiter dry his face while he apologized with great remorse.

2. “I'm so sorry,” he said. “I have this compulsion to do this. I fight it, but I can’t stop it. I feel so guilty about it and I don't know what to do about it.”

3. “You had better do something about your problem,” the waiter replied. “You can be sure I'll remember you and will never serve you another drink until you get help.”

4. It was months before the man returned to the restaurant and faced the waiter again.

5. When he asked for a drink, the waiter refused.

6. Then the man explained that he had been seeing a psychiatrist and that his problem was solved.

7. Convinced it was now okay to serve him, the waiter got him a drink.

8. The man immediately took the glass and splashed the drink into the waiter's astonished face.

9. “I thought you were cured,” the shocked waiter screamed.

10. “I am,” said the man. “Now I don't feel guilty when I do it.” (Charles Sell, Unfinished Business, Multnomah, 1989, p. 223)

B. When we do something that is wrong or is harmful to others, we should feel badly about it.

1. Guilt is an important God given emotion.

2. Someone has said, “Guilt is like the red warning light on the dashboard of the car. You can either stop and deal with the trouble, or break out the light.”

3. Guilt is there to try to warn us that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

4. The goal is not to learn to live with guilt, but to allow guilt to cause us to find the remedy that will remove it, which is repentance and forgiveness.

C. Joseph’s brothers certainly felt guilty for what they had done to Joseph.

1. How should they handle their guilt? What should they do about it?

2. Unfortunately, rather than stop and deal with it appropriately, they had chosen to break out the light on their dashboard.

3. They had buried their guilt.

4. They had tried to cover it up.

5. Their hearts were hardened and their consciences were seared.

6. Let’s see how God used Joseph to activate their seared conscience.

I. The Story

A. As we pick up the story where we left off last week, we remember that a worldwide famine has struck.

1. The situation was dire – people were starving.

2. The only country that had food was Egypt, and the only reason they had food was because God’s hand was with Joseph.

3. God gave Joseph the foresight to prepare the people of Egypt during the seven years of plenty.

4. Now starving people from other countries began coming to Egypt to buy food.

B. The story that has centered on Joseph in Egypt now turns and focuses on Joseph’s family back in Canaan.

1. The Bible says: When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” 2 He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.” (Gen. 42:1-2)

2. You can just hear the old man chiding his sons.

3. I guess when you reach a certain crotchety old age, you skip the subtlety and get right to the point.

4. “Why are you boys sitting here twiddling your thumbs? Get off your duffs and go to Egypt and bring back some food!”

5. The fact that they just sat their immobilized said something of the on-going guilt they felt.

a. How could they go to Egypt? That’s where their brother was, the one they sold into slavery!

b. What if they were to walk into a city and bump into their brother the slave? Then what?

C. The story continues…the Bible says: Then ten of Joseph's brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph's brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. (Gen. 42:3-4)

1. One might expect that Jacob would send all of his sons on the journey to bring back as much grain as possible, but we learn that Jacob kept one son behind.

2. Which son did he keep at home? It was Benjamin, the youngest, Rachel’s only remaining son.

3. Keep in mind that Benjamin is not a young man, he is close to 30 years old and probably has a family of his own.

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