Summary: In this sermon, we recognize the analogy between the feast of grace that Joseph placed before his brothers, the one that God places before us.
A. The story is told of two long-time golfing buddies who decided one day that they would play the ball where it lies, no matter what! (Golfers sometimes move their ball to a better location.)
1. On the 14th hole, one of them sliced his drive and it ended up on the cart path.
2. As he reached down to pick up his ball to get relief, his friend said, “Wait a minute! We agreed that we would not improve our lies! Remember? No matter what!”
3. The first player tried to explain that he was entitled to this relief, that it was in the rules of golf.
4. But the second fellow would not allow it.
5. Throwing up his hands in disgust, the man went to the cart and grabbed a club.
6. As he stood near his ball, he took a few practice swings, each time scraping the club on the pavement and sending out showers of sparks, leaving scratches on the bottom of his club.
7. Finally, he took his shot.
8. The club hit the path again, sparks went flying, but his ball shot straight towards the green, landed and rolled to a stop - two inches from the cup.
9. “Great shot!” his friend exclaimed. “What club did you use?”
10. The man gave him a smile, “Your 7 iron!”
B. Extending grace is always the best policy!
1. Today as we continue our series on the life of Joseph, we will see him showing some grace that his brothers desperately needed.
2. Grace is something that all of us need and it is something that we must learn to receive and extend.
I. The Story
A. As we begin this segment of Joseph’s story, we remember that Simeon is still being held hostage in Egypt, and Joseph’s brothers are on their second trip to Egypt.
1. This time, their youngest brother, Benjamin is in tow.
2. Their mission was fourfold:
a. To show their good faith.
b. To prove they are not spies.
c. To ransom Simeon.
d. And, to buy more food.
3. They were also bringing back the original money that had been returned in their sacks on the first visit, and they brought double the money and some special gifts for the prime minister.
4. Finally they arrived, full of questions and concerns.
a. Would the Egyptian prime-minister release Simeon?
b. Would he look with favor on them for returning the money?
c. Would he let them all return to their homeland?
B. Let’s begin reading where we ended last week. The Bible says: So the men took the gifts and double the amount of silver, and Benjamin also. They hurried down to Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. 16 When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare dinner; they are to eat with me at noon.” 17 The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph's house. (Gen. 43:15-17)
1. Our story quickly shifts from the worried brothers to the eager and excited Joseph awaiting their return.
2. At long last he was relieved to witness their return to Egypt.
a. He had probably been waiting and watching, wondering if they would accept his challenge or leave Simeon to his own fate, as they had him so many years before.
b. But finally, there they were; they had returned.
3. Joseph forced himself to stay calm.
a. He looked over the group and found Benjamin.
b. How Joseph’s heart must have pounded in his throat when he saw Benjamin, who had been just a boy when Joseph had been swept away from his family.
4. Joseph ordered his steward to have a meal prepared and to bring the men from Canaan to his home.
5. I have often wondered what Joseph’s steward must have thought about all this.
a. It must have seemed strange, to say the least.
b. Why would the prime minister invite this dusty, dirty tribe of Hebrew nomads to a feast?
6. But the steward obeyed his master.
C. And the story continues: Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.”
So they went up to Joseph's steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 20 “Please, sir,” they said, “we came down here the first time to buy food. 21 But at the place where we stopped for the night we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver—the exact weight—in the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back with us. 22 We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don't know who put our silver in our sacks.” (Gen. 43:18-22)