Summary: Today’s sermon marks our final segment of the journey with Joseph. In Chapter 45, the redemption theme “comes together” and Joseph embraces the reality of what it looked like for redemption to happen in his own life and the lives of his family members.
Opener: When I was in Nova Scotia this past week, I was talking with one of the Youth Directors and he is in the midst of teaching an Adult Sunday School where he is doing an overview of the Bible in a Year….they read a big chunk of the text (ie: this week they’re reading Psalm 1 – 30) and then “parachuting” deeper into a few of the texts each week. One thing you find when you start reading the Bible in big chunks like this is that you start getting a handle on the bigger and broader themes of the Word…some call this the “grid of Biblical History”….
· I) Creation II) Fall III) Redemption IV) Consumation
This is the “big story” that God is trying to work out in the midst of human history…over the past 3 Sunday’s we have been walking with Joseph and learning of his life story. In today’s text, we see the conclusion of his journey….his bright and colorful beginning; his being hated and sold into slavery by his jealous brothers; his time of rise and fall in Potiphar’s household; his dark and isolated years in prison; and then his rise to fame and power in Pharoah’s house. He’s become Prime Minister of the Land in Egypt…it has truly been a “rags to riches” story but the riches are for a reason! Not just to make him fat cat in the house of Pharoah…but to make him a major player in God’s story of REDEMPTION through his people, the remnant in Israel.
Because God has promised that he will carry his people through and in this part of the story we see yet another miracle; another act of deliverance, another “I – don’t – know – what – I’m – gonna – do – where is – God – in all – of this - -” circumstance… and don’t forget that this is a 22 year journey!
So what is happening here, is the culmination of a smaller story of redemption, happening within the bigger story of redemption that God is working through history through his people…and in today’s Joseph’s story the question is this….
Q: HOW does Joseph make this redemption a reality?? Here are 3 lessons for us to learn in the “Joseph Journey”…
1) Joseph shared his identity (vv. 1-4)
This is an emotional chapter…there’s a lot of weeping and wailing going on here! (take a clue, brother & sisters…when was the last time you wept for redemption??) Joseph realizes that God is bringing a redemption to and through him. In order for the remnant in Israel to receive blessing, hope and a future, Joseph would have to reveal his true identity and pursue reconciliation with his brothers. There must have been a spectrum of emotions that Joseph was dealing with here…but he knows that this is not a time for hate, revenge, bitterness or resentment….it is a time for forgiveness and healing.
At the sight of his brothers, Joseph probably didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or kill! Here they were, his brothers…wandering in and looking for help - - - the same brothers that 22 years earlier tried to kill him and then decided to make some $$ off of him by selling him into slavery. These are the brothers who had abandoned him! These were the brothers who didn’t care whether he lived or died. Oh, Joseph’s emotions must have been running wild! So he sends out everyone who is gather in his courts…and he weeps. He wails so loud that Pharoah’s workers can hear him.
And then he tells his brothers the astounding truth… “I am Joseph….Is my father still living?”
And the brothers must have been stupefied…and since Joseph is 20+ years older and is wearing clothes and adornments that hide his identity - - - the brothers don’t get it!
So he has to tell them to come closer…and he has to be more specific… “I am your BROTHER Joseph.” You know the one?? The one you sold into slavery!
And maybe the glimmer of the light starts to go on in the minds and hearts of his brothers…they start to look closer at Joseph, they look at each other…and it’s probably like seeing a ghost - - - this brother of ours who was as good as dead, is now alive…
And in their terrified state…and with their jaws wide open…and their eyes popping out of their skulls in disbelief…
Joseph unfolds lesson 2 in this redemption story…
Because the lights are going on in Joseph’s head too - - - this isn’t just a “shock moment”…this isn’t going to be a simple “random act of kindness” - - NO! Because of God, there is a perfect explanation to how Joseph and his brothers ended up in this encounter…