You know, life is really about movement. Moving from one stage of life to another. Carefree childhood years, learning young adult years, middle-aged family years, empty nest years, retirement years…It’s all about moving from one stage of life to another. And through every stage God is moving through life’s events to grow us and get us ready for what’s next.
Think with me for a moment. What kind of person were you twenty years ago?
Now think about the events God’s used in the last twenty years to shape you into who you are now. Life is all about movement.
In tonight’s chapters we’re going to see twenty two years of God moving in the lives of Jacob and all of his sons to bring about His will in their lives. 22 years of movement.
But first let’s remember where we are in the story:
- Joseph was hated by his brothers
- They sold him into slavery in Egypt when he was just 17 years old
- Through tumultuous years Joseph rose to power in Egypt
- A famine in the land drove Joseph’s brothers to come buy grain from him
- Joseph wanted proof his brother Benjamin was alive, so he kept Simeon prisoner
- Jacob wouldn’t let his sons return to Egypt with Benjamin
[Read Genesis 42:36-38.]
Jacob had put his foot down. He’d already lost two sons and didn’t want to lose another. No one was going anywhere. But remember, there was still a famine in the land. The food they had would eventually run out. And hunger will move a man to do just about anything.
I. Hunger moves Jacob to trust God
[Read Genesis 43:1-15.]
Remember, this is the last thing Jacob wants to do. As we saw last time, he probably suspected the brothers of killing Joseph and Simeon and wanting to do the same to Benjamin. But the famine had brought a sense of urgency to him and he had no other options.
He tells the brothers to take enough money to buy more grain and to pay for the grain they received the last time they were there. He also tells them to take some of the delicacies from their land as a gift for the Egyptian ruler. (These were probably not available in Egypt.)
Finally, he shows them how he would be trusting Almighty God, El Shaddai, to bring back to him all of his sons safely. Jacob was finally at that point where he put it all on the table. The only thing he could do was trust the Lord. He knew the money and the gifts wouldn’t be enough. He needed the hand of God to watch over his children.
Have you ever found yourself in a position like this? Where only God could help you?
[Man in desert, pump, water bucket, illustration.]
God puts us in situations where the only thing we can do is trust Him. And even though it’s usually not an enjoyable place, it’s a wonderful place because that’s where our faith grows! That’s where we can see the hand of God! That’s where we can point others too when they are faced with an insurmountable situation!
Well that’s where Jacob is. He’s moved to completely trust God with his children, and off they go back to Egypt. When they get there a meeting is set up between them and Joseph and:
II. The meeting moves Joseph to tears
[Read Genesis 43:16-24.]
The brothers are really scared that meeting with the ruler of Egypt meant their free lives were over. They fall all over themselves to make sure that didn’t happen.
But instead of their fears being realized, they are treated extremely well. Simeon is released from prison to them, they get some water to drink, their donkeys are fed, they get their feet washed, and Joseph’s house steward tried to comfort them by referring to the sovereignty of God.
[Read Genesis 43:23.]
This man is referring to the Hebrew God, the God of Jacob, having been in control of the situation. Either Joseph had told his house steward about His view of God and he was simply repeating it to the brothers, or maybe Joseph had influenced him to believe in God for himself. I like to believe the latter since the steward puts God’s actions and his own in the same context.
So the brothers have been treated well and now get to share a meal with Joseph.
[Read Genesis 43:25-31.]
It’s been twenty two years since Joseph had seen Benjamin, his only full brother. The last time he saw him they were both teenagers running around in the fields at home with the entire family. Now he’s a grown man. A lifetime that seemed to be lost, could now start again. The emotions overwhelmed Joseph to the point that he left the room and wept.