Summary: Joseph series #5
Do you keep a “little list”? When someone does you wrong do you allow the spirit of god to erase the offense, or do you grudgingly, secretly add their name and wait until the perfect opportunity preset itself to strike back and get even?
These are the questions that Joseph had to face, and today we will study together how he answered them.
As we pick up the story remember the situation. A worldwide famine has struck, just as Joseph had interpreted in the dream that King Pharaoh had experienced.
The situation is bleak, there is no food and people are starving, the only country that has any food is Egypt…because of Gods hand on Joseph…Now the starving people are swarming to Egypt to buy food…no one outside of Egypt is exempt!
Let’s look at Genesis 42 and see what is happening in Hebron…
1When Jacob heard that there was grain available in Egypt, he said to his sons, "Why are you standing around looking at one another? 2I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down and buy some for us before we all starve to death."
We have been so wrapped up with Joseph that we may have almost forgotten the rest of the family, but all the while they are all still alive but they are not doing all that well. Old Jacob catches wind that Egypt has food and so he sends his sons to go see what they can get. Basically they are just about in survival mode, so away they go all but Benjamin who no doubt has taken the place by now of Joseph as being the “favorite son” Lets go on verse 3…
3So Joseph’s ten older brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain. 4Jacob wouldn’t let Joseph’s younger brother, Benjamin, go with them, however, for fear some harm might come to him.
I often wonder how many times Joseph thought about home, was dad still living, were all his brothers ok, had they survived the famine?
And the flipside o f the story is that no doubt his brothers had all but forgotten him and no doubt Jacob had overcome his time of grieving for what he thought was a deceased son.
Certainly they didn’t know that their little brother was now the prime minister of Egypt. All they knew was that they had to obey their aging father and bring some food back home.
The stage is being set…once again God is ready to do some moving! Don’t you just love it when everyone can sense that God is getting ready to do something big?
5So Jacob’s sons arrived in Egypt along with others to buy food, for the famine had reached Canaan as well.
6Since Joseph was governor of all Egypt and in charge of the sale of the grain, it was to him that his brothers came. They bowed low before him, with their faces to the ground. 7Joseph recognized them instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger. "Where are you from?" he demanded roughly. "From the land of Canaan," they replied. "We have come to buy grain."
Can you see it? These ten country boys from Canaan no doubt were awe struck as they stood in front of this government official. They were so overwhelmed that they bowed with their faces to the ground before him, not having any clue this guy robed with authority of front of them is their once despised little brother.
But what about Joseph, no doubt by now he is exhausted, he’s been dealing with hungry people all day and he looks up and recognizes them… if you are a score keeper…a list maker…here comes your moment
8Joseph’s brothers didn’t recognize him, but Joseph recognized them.
9And he remembered the dreams he had had many years before. He said to them, "You are spies! You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become."
Joseph has a déjà vu moment! He remembered the dream! Now remember Joseph is human and I can almost hear the enemy whispering in his ear…Here is your moment…go ahead and reveal yourself to them, rub it in…after all you deserve it! Go ahead Joseph…remember how they mocked you, how they hated you…surely Joseph surely you aren’t going to have passion on them now are you? But Joseph has been tempted before and not bowed, and this time will be no different, instead he buys some time to collect his thoughts and accused them of being spies…watch this unfold now,
10"No, my lord!" they exclaimed. "We have come to buy food. 11We are all brothers and honest men, sir! We are not spies!"
12"Yes, you are!" he insisted. "You have come to discover how vulnerable the famine has made us."
13"Sir," they said, "there are twelve of us brothers, and our father is in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is there with our father, and one of our brothers is no longer with us."