Summary: It is a lot easier to forgive someone who has hurt you deeply when you are convinced that they have pondered the gravity of their wrong-doing.
Lunch with Joseph
1. “When I was a kid, my dad and I were driving somewhere on a nice, sunny afternoon…. My window was rolled down. The town we live in isn’t known to be a destination for celebs of any kind. We pull up to a light; we’re the second car from the front. A polished limo pulls up next to us, and the window rolls down. A man pops his head out and waves to get our attention.”
“It’s William Shatner. All smiles, he asks us for directions to a hotel downtown. My dad, a Trekkie, plays it cool and gives him solid directions. Shatner thanks us, gives me a wink and sits back in his seat. He says to the other people in the limo, ‘Stay on this road for a while.’”
This account was headlined, “He can pilot a starship, but he still needs directions.” [urbo.com]
2. The sons of Jacob were about to share a meal with the second most powerful man on earth, Egypt’s prime minister, the grand vizier. They did not know it was their brother.
3. This meal was part of a test and a larger plan for reconciliation and evacuation.
Main Idea: It is a lot easier to forgive someone who has hurt you deeply when you are convinced that they have pondered the gravity of their wrong-doing.
I. This Story of Reconciliation is Written in INVERTED Parallelism (chiasm).
A. Jacob sends his sons back to Egypt with FEAR (43:1-14).
1. The family grew worse and the grain gone.
2. For them to return to Egypt, they would be forced to take Benjamin.
3. Jacob scolded them some more for telling “the man” (Joseph) about him.
4. Judah promises to take responsibility for Benjamin’s welfare; remember, it was Judah who had proposed selling Joseph as a slave.
5. Jacob realizes they have no choice; he instructs them to return the money and bring more, and to send “the man” some of the unique products of the land (balm, honey).
B. They arrive in Egypt and deal with OFFICIALS (43:15-25).
1. When Joseph catches a glimpse of them, he has his servants bring them to his house for a large meal.
2. The brothers were afraid they were being called to be made into slaves for taking $.
3. They please their case with the servant, he tells them not to worry; they received $.
4. Simeon is released from prison and joins them.
C. The brothers DINE with Joseph (43:26-34).
1. Jacob was going to test his brothers, to see if they had learned and changed.
2. When he sees Benjamin, however, he was about to lose it & retreated.
3. Joseph sees to it that Benjamin’s portion is five times as large – perhaps a test to see if his brother were jealous.
4. The brothers had been humbled and apparently had moved beyond that.
D. Center Point: The brothers are framed and demonstrate that they are no longer only about THEMSELVES (44:1-13).
1. Joseph ordered their sacks were filled with grain and their money again.
2. Joseph had his steward hide his silver cup into Benjamin's sack.
3. The steward catches up to them and searches for the cup – found in B’s sack!
Joseph had been elevated by Potiphar and then framed by Potiphar’s wife; now his brothers would know how it felt. They had a wonderful reception with Joseph, and now they are falsely accused and in trouble.
C’. Joseph DISCLOSES who he is (44:14- 45:15).
1. Judah did not try to deny that Benjamin had stolen the cup.
2. Instead, he said that God was punishing them for a previously committed sin.
3. Joseph offers them all freedom except for Benjamin.
4. Judah explains the condition of his father, and how he had promised to guarantee Benjamin’s safety.
5. He begs Joseph to take him, Judah, as a slave in Benjamin’s stead, with a long, emotional speech.
6. Twenty years earlier, they were heartless about Joseph, and it was Judah who suggested selling him as a slave. Now Judah is willing to become a slave to prevent Benjamin from suffering that fate.
7. Joseph cannot take it anymore: he shocks his brothers with an announcement: I am Joseph!!! They were speechless as Joseph began sobbing.
8. His brothers would be fearful of Joseph for a long time; they had trouble believing he had forgiven him.
9. Let me read to you Joseph’s response: Read aloud 45:4-8.
10. Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today…”
11. He is eager to see his father and cannot wait for him to come down to Egypt.