Summary: Joseph's brothers hated him and gave him plenty of reason to hate them back. Instead he did a surprising thing.
They hated him. They despised him. They loathed the ground on which he walked. They had “good reasons,” to hear them tell it.
• He was their father’s favorite.
• He didn’t have to work hard as they did.
• He dreamed that in the future his father, mother and 11 brothers would all bow before him and proudly told them the dreams.
• And, worst of all, he was a tattle-tale.
Oh, he had to die. “Let’s kill him and tell father a wild beast ate him.” Instead of killing him, though, they sold him to a caravan of traders who, in turn, sold him as a slave to Potiphar in Egypt. But things got worse.
Because of his evident skills, Joseph was made master over all the servants and business in Potiphar’s home. Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph and “Wunked him a wink” in an effort to have an affair with him.
On the basis of loyalty to Potiphar, to himself, and to God, he rebuffed and refused her enticement. Offended, she lied, saying that he had made advances to her. She was believed and Joseph was stuck in the slammer where, because of obvious skills, he was appointed as Head Prisoner.
Because he rightly interpreted the dreams of 2 prisoners, his name was given to Pharaoh, who had suffered two disturbing dreams. Joseph revealed that the dreams both predicted 7 years of abundant produce and 7 years of famine. He was made Number 2 Mucky Muck over Egypt and established a plan to save up grain in the 7 good years for distribution in the 7 bad years.
The famine hit his homeland hard so his brothers came to Egypt to buy provisions. They did not recognize Joseph, but he recognized them. Over 22 years had passed by that time. So, to test their hearts, he put them through various trials (of which you ought to read in Genesis chapters 42-45).
At last, convinced of the repentance of his brothers, he revealed his identity, and commanded that his father and younger brother, Benjamin be brought to Egypt where he cared for them until he died,
Read with me, “Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried, ‘Have everyone go out from me.’ So there was no man with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard of it. Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?’ But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please come closer to me.’ And they came closer. And he said, ‘I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, “Thus says your son Joseph, ‘God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your childrens’ children and your flocks and your herds and all that you have. There I will also provide for you, for there are still five years of famine to come, and you and your household and all that you have would be impoverished.” Behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see, that it is my mouth which is speaking to you. Now you must tell my father of all my splendor in Egypt, and all that you have seen; and you must hurry and bring my father down here.’ Then he fell on his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck.” Genesis 45:1-14 (NASB).
Here are some lessons for us. SEEK AND YOU WILL FIND IT!
I. LOOK FOR THE HAND OF GOD IN BAD TIMES:
A. Joseph knew that and said, “Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God.”