Joseph’s Life and Lessons, Part 8

March 27, 2019 at 4:10 PM

In our last article in this series, we covered Genesis 43, which by this point, we find Joseph as the second in command under the Pharaoh of Egypt. You’ll recall that Joseph’s brothers, at the insistence of father Jacob first went to Egypt to buy grain because a famine was taking over the land and food was becoming very scarce.

The brothers went there only to be accused of being spies by Joseph himself (whom they did not recognize). To prove they were not spies, Joseph insisted that they return with their youngest brother and to ensure that they would, he kept one of the older brothers confined in prison until that time.

After the brothers returned home in the first journey, they eventually went through the food they bought though Joseph had told his stewards to place that money back into the brothers’ sacks. This of course, caused great consternation with the brothers on top of what they already were experiencing. Eventually, they had no choice but to return to Egypt and Jacob finally relented and allowed them to take Benjamin with them, though he was greatly concerned for Benjamin’s safety.

Genesis 43 shows the results of the brothers returning to Egypt, this time with Benjamin and Joseph’s reaction to him. Genesis 44 opens with Joseph telling his steward to again put the money the brothers paid for the grain back into their sacks. He also tells the steward to put Joseph’s own cup into the sack of the youngest; Benjamin (Genesis 44:2). We might well wonder what Joseph was attempting to accomplish?

It seems that Joseph continued to test the character of his brothers. He wanted to know for certain if they had changed their ways. Would they give up their youngest brother as easily as they had given Joseph up, seemingly without a care in the world?

The brothers leave Egypt early that next morning with the new grain they had purchased. Unknown to them was the money that had been replaced and the silver cup that belonged to Joseph. They were going to find out soon enough though as Joseph instructed his steward to chase after them, overtake them and question them.

Starting in verse 6, we see the steward overtaking the brothers and accuses them as Joseph had instructed him to accuse them. The brothers were indignant of course and they had every right to be because as far as they were concerned, they had done everything above-board, even bringing the money from the first trip back to Egypt to give to Joseph and brought more to buy more grain. They were trying to prove themselves to be honest.

Verse 9 is a turning point for the brothers.

Whichever of your servants is found with it shall die, and we also will be my lord’s servants.

Had they been guilty, they never would’ve said that. Had they known that the money had once again been returned to them and one of Joseph’s silver cups had been placed in Benjamin’s sack, they might have argued back, but probably not let Benjamin hang out to dry, unless of course, they had not really changed.

They searched and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. Horror of horrors!

Then they tore their clothes, and every man loaded his donkey, and they returned to the city. (v 13)

Uh oh, bad turn of events. Not sure what the brothers were thinking at this point, but I’m sure each in his heart knew that he had not stolen the silver cup. How did it get into Benjamin’s sack? What would happen now? They had already said – to emphasize their innocence – that whoever’s sack the silver cup was found in, that person should die (v. 9). Now what? Things were not looking good at all.

They arrive back to Joseph and he accuses them of stealing from him. The brothers are beside themselves. Judah then begins to speak with Joseph (asking permission to do so), and explains how the loss of Benjamin would be complete devastation to his father, Jacob. Judah then offers his own life in exchange for Benjamin’s, noting how catastrophic it would be for the father who was at that point, an elderly man.

Genesis 44 ends on that point, but I’d like to point out a couple of things that stick out to me.

Judah is the founder of the tribe of Judah. Jesus came from the tribe of Judah. Judah offered himself in exchange for his younger brother Benjamin. Jesus offered Himself in exchange for those who would come to faith in Him. Certainly His life is so valuable that it could easily offer propitiation for all who have sinned, but only those who come to Him in faith will have their sins forgiven, with His righteousness imputed to their accounts. If you are a Christian, this is what happened to and for you. Your righteousness is not your own, it is Christ’s. The “righteousness” you had was as filthy rags and could offer nothing toward salvation. It had to be fully replaced.

When a person exercises faith in the cross work of Jesus, eternal life is granted to that person by God. Along with that eternal life, the person also receives Christ’s righteousness, which can never fade, spoil, or rust. It is eternal. When God sees us, He sees us covered in the precious righteousness of Christ. Though we can go in and out of fellowship with Him (due to our sin), we can never lose our salvation.

Judah offered Himself literally as a sacrifice for Benjamin. This is what Jesus did for us. In this way, though Joseph is often seen as a type of Christ, here, in this instance, he more represents God the Father who sees sin and administers the penalty for it. Jesus offers Himself for us, so that we do not have to suffer the consequences of sin, though we certainly deserve to suffer it. In essence, Jesus is “condemned” on the cross so that we do not have to be condemned. Only faith in Christ releases us from the penalty of our sin.

I’d like to point out something else here with respect to the life of Joseph in general. Surely, we can see exactly how much he suffered, can’t we, even if we cannot fully appreciate it? I’ve never been falsely accused of raping someone, then being thrown into prison for it without so much as a trial. I’ve not been so hated by siblings that they sold me into slavery not caring one iota about what it did to me.

Sometimes, I’ll try to imagine what these events in Joseph’s life must have felt like and I cannot fully comprehend them! There is too much and my emotions and even my thinking cannot fully understand how Joseph must have felt.

Moreover, Joseph did not spend years nursing a grudge. He didn’t take the time to harbor resentment against his brothers. He didn’t spend time planning how best to get back at them. It ultimately looks as though Joseph got over it. More than that, he came to a place we will see that not only allowed him to let go of the terrible circumstances that he suffered, but enabled him to literally embrace the previous 13 years since he had been sold into slavery at the age of 17!

Understand what that means. Joseph came to fully accept what happened to him as though it came directly from God Himself. We’ll get more into this as we continue this series. The remaining six chapters of Genesis explain it all and while they do not show us how Joseph managed to embrace the tragedies in his life as coming from God, they tell us that he did do this.

Folks, I don’t know about you, but the Christian’s character is determined not by how he/she dresses when attending church or even how he/she carries themselves while at church or other religious gatherings and activities, though that is often a reflection of how we view these things. The Christian’s mettle is seen in how we react to situations (both inside and outside), that come into our lives that are not at all palatable or pleasant and if we had our druthers, we would push them away without question. This really is where the rubber meets the road for the Christian because it is the practical experience of our lives daily. It is where our theology and beliefs are tried and either found wanting or confirmed.

Do we shrink from situations that we hate? Most of us do, at least initially. But if we believe Scripture that nothing comes our way unless and until God allows or directs it, then shouldn’t we take the more painful approach to these situations by not shrinking from them? That often requires something more than we often think we have on hand, doesn’t it? It requires a total dependence upon God for wisdom, strength, and the fortitude to face the fears that these situations often cause. Jesus did it. Paul did it. Others did it both in the Old and New Testaments. That is what defines righteousness in our lives. It is what defines us as true followers of Jesus or Sunday-only Christians.

Are you experiencing difficulties that you’d prefer not to experience? Are you wishing the things that cause discomfort would just go away? Maybe you’re even at a point of wondering why God won’t “do” something about a situation. Why is He “torturing” you like He is? Why won’t He cast the problem far from you? It may not even be something you brought on, but seemed that happened of its own accord. Where is God? Why do you feel alone, overcome, and powerless?

Have you ever felt that way? You probably have. I know I have and in point of fact, I’m dealing with a situation outside myself now that I have absolutely no control over that God has clearly allowed to come into my life. It is not pleasant and it tends to rob me of any sense of peace within. Why is God allowing it? What should my reaction to it be?

We’ll talk about that next time as we continue to look into the life of Joseph.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Demonic, eternity, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation.

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