SERIES: The Gospel in Genesis (Joseph)

TEXT: Genesis 42:1-9; 45:1-9

MESSAGE: “When God Heals Relationships”

How does God heal Joseph’s relationship with his brothers? 

By bringing him face to face with his(1. Past 2. Pain 3. Purpose)

  1. Past (42:1-8)

“When Jacob learned that there was grain for sale in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” And he said, “Behold, I have heard that there is grain for sale in Egypt. Go down and buy grain for us there, that we may live and not die.” So ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with his brothers, for he feared that harm might happen to him. Thus the sons of Israel came to buy among the others who came, for the famine was in the land of Canaan. Now Joseph was governor over the land. He was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground. Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke roughly to them. “Where do you come from?” he said. They said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.” And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.”

“In the twenty years after the brothers sold Joseph, things did not get any better at home. Genesis 42 opens with Jacob barking at his sons…the men who were so ingenious in ridding themselves of their despised younger brother had no plan to save their families from slowly wasting away from famine. For his part, Jacob was still playing favorites, keeping Joseph’s only full brother, Benjamin, back while the others went to Egypt…Jacob’s family was overflowing with broken relationships.” — Iain Duguid
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy…” 
— Psalm 103:2-4
  1. Pain (42:9)
And Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed of them. And he said to them, “You are spies; you have come to see the nakedness of the land.”
Genesis 42:21…Then they said to one another, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.”
“Joseph’s strategy, already brilliantly successful in creating the situations and tensions he required, now produces it’s masterstroke…the sudden threat to Benjamin was a thrust to the heart: in a moment the brothers stood revealed. When the steward converted their challenge in 44:9 into a chance of freedom at Benjamin’s expense, all the conditions were present for another betrayal, at a far more compelling price — their liberty…” 
 Derek Kidner
“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.” — Isaiah 48:10
  1. Purpose (45:4-9)
So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve lifeFor the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house 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 tarry.”
“…this is one of the classic statements of providential control.” Derek Kidner

TAKEAWAYS: How does God heal our relationships with others? It’s when we understand that…

  • We all have wounds

“Explore Old Wounds. Don’t deny they are there. If you get angry when talking about something from the past or someone that hurt you, that is a good indicator that there is a significant wound that has not been healed. Admit it. Unpack all of it. Figure out why it happened. Think about its significance and why it cut so deep. Unhealed wounds have a way of creating a distorted lens through which we view the world, friends, family, and particularly, ourselves. Are the things you believe about yourself and others grounded in unbiased truth? Or is your view distorted? Have these wounds created insecurities in you that are not founded in truth? Have these wounds caused you to keep people at a distance? Ask questions.”  BJ Foster (Article “Hurt People, Hurt People” on All Pro Dad)

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.”  Genesis 50:19-21

  • I’m Not God (v. 19)
“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”
— Romans 12:9
  • People Can’t Ultimately Destroy My Life (v. 20)
“When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” — Colossians 3:4
  • Forgiveness Is More Powerful Than Vengeance (v. 21)
  • “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” — Romans 2:4
“…when I read the story (of Joseph), I have that same spirit of deepening love for God for what He has done for me, as I do as when I read the story of the Lord.” — W.A. Criswell