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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

GENESIS – An Expositional Overview of the Beginning of God’s Revelation: Chapter FORTY TWO

Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

Chuck Missler Bible Commentary - Genesis 40-45

GENESIS 42 – by Sonny Islas; for the FB video of this teaching, go here.

FAMINE FORCES A FAMILY REUNION 

The great famine that Pharaoh dreamed about is now here and it was going to force a long-desired family reunion – but Joseph won’t reveal his identity to his brothers until chapter 45. Joseph is now the 2nd most powerful and richest man in the world – 2nd to the King of Egypt – The Pharaoh. Joseph became so powerful that Genesis 45:8 say that “God made Joseph father of Pharaoh lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.”
One thing that we can never tire of highlighting is Joseph’s seemingly flawless character. I personally covet Joseph’s character. He managed to honor the LORD in every situation (no exaggeration) – He honored God in Potiphar’s palace where he excelled as a slave. He honored God during ongoing and serious temptation by Mrs. Potiphar. He tells her “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). He honored God in prison where he excelled as a prisoner to the point of becoming a compassionate warden. 

And now the climax – He honored God in His rise to power. Many men fail at this point – the point where they have achieved position and some degree of power, fame, and wealth. Yet in all of this, Joseph stayed the course. He kept His eyes on the LORD. And Lastly, and probably the most difficult, Joseph honored God when he extended forgiveness to the brothers who abandoned him to slavery. I’m convinced that Joseph was a man of prayer – closely and daily connected to Yahweh. Because no one can live such a full and powerful life like this on their own. The scriptures make it clear over and over again that “God was with Joseph” and everyone who encountered Joseph knew it.

Genesis 42:1-5
1 Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? 2 And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die. 3 And Joseph's ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt. 4 But Benjamin, Joseph's brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him. 5 And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan.

Jacob saw that there was grain (corn) in Egypt – Jacob got on Facebook and learned that Egypt alone had the goods. Jacob noticed that nearby neighbors were making their way to Egypt for corn.
Jacob asks his sons, “Why do you look at one another?” – This means that as soon as they heard the word Egypt, they had puzzled faces. They looked at each other with guilt, because they figured that Joseph, the younger brother they sold into slavery was most likely in Egypt.

Their reaction to the word “Egypt” was the reaction of a guilty conscience. They had skeletons in their closet (their dad didn’t know about) and this word threatened to pull those skeletons out. There are words (like people’s names) that when brought up makes us feel uncomfortable because there is something, we may not want people to know – this is the idea.

Their skeletons will soon come out of their closets and their father will know the whole truth about what really happened to his baby Joseph. At the same time, their exposed skeletons will bring healing to Joseph’s brothers’ hearts. Because as you I both know, when we keep secrets to ourselves that should not be kept hidden, we feel trapped and bound to them until we tell someone we can trust – especially God.

Jacob tells his sons, “Go… and buy for us there (Egypt) that we may live and not die” – We can see here that Joseph’s rise to power was bigger than him, it was God’s plan to save Jacob and his sons who will some day bring about Jesus – the ultimate Savior of the world. Remember this, when God decides to promote us, he always has a bigger purpose in mind.

I have a good friend that the LORD has blessed with an Air Conditioning company and he has used this blessing to bless others. He gives opportunities to the unlikely to be hired elsewhere.

“So Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt” – We see here that it was this famine that God used and caused (because we know that God regulates the rain) to force a greatly needed and anticipated family reunion.

As you know Joseph is a type of Jesus which means that there are times when God may allow and even cause a calamity in our lives to force us and drive us to God in order to live – like this here famine drove Joseph’s brothers to himself in Egypt for food.

I’ve heard of people saying that a physical accident drove them back to God – one brother fell from a two story building and that accident brought him closer to God. An illness drove them back to God. A job loss. A death of a loved one drove them back to God. Just like this famine forced a family reunion, God uses hardships to force a reunion between us and Him.

Genesis 42:6
6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.

“It was Joseph who sold to all the people of the land” 

Again, Joseph is a type of Jesus Christ and Joseph was in charge of the food that gives life. If he held back food from anyone they would die of hunger. Like Jesus, Joseph has the power to give life or withhold it.
In John 6:35, Jesus says to a crowd “I Am the bread of life. He who comes to Me (like those who came to Joseph) shall never hunger.” During this famine, you could not go to anyone else but Joseph for food, for life, for survival, for existence and it’s the same with Jesus who said, “I Am the Bread of Life” and “I Am the way the truth and the life.’’
In Matthew 5:6 Jesus says, “Blessed (this speaks of a joy that comes through salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Only those who’s souls are starving for God can be saved!

What drove Joseph’s brother to Joseph? Hunger, famine, their empty stomachs, their desperation. In the same way in order to be saved one must come to Jesus as though they know for sure, that they would die without Him. Jesus saves those who have famished souls, empty souls that yearn for life, who want Jesus desperately – our soul’s bread.
Again, God has ways of creating that hunger in our hearts for Him by sending us calamity - like this famine.

And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth.” – This is Joseph’s first two dreams fulfilled (Genesis 37). Where his brothers bowed before him – His being vocal of this dream is what made his brothers hate him and sell him. Very much like Jesus when He told Israel that He was God the Son and king of Israel they hated Him for it and crucified him for it. We see many parallels like this between Jesus and Joseph.

They bowed before Joseph because they knew that they were at His mercy. They knew that Joseph (whom they didn’t recognize yet) was as powerful as Pharaoh. Listen unless we bow before Jesus in complete humility we cannot be saved. We must cry out! “Have mercy on me a sinner (a starving sinner at that!)”

This bowing down to Joseph also points to the time when every knee will bow before Jesus and confess that He is LORD! (Phil 2:10,11).

Genesis 42:7-20
7 And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. 8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him. 9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come. 10 And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come. 11 We are all one man's sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies. 12 And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.13 And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not

14 And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies: 15 Hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither. 16 Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies. 17 And he put them all together into ward three days. 18 And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God: 19 If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: 20 But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so.

Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him – We need to keep in mind that Joseph’s Egyptian name was Zaphnath-Paaneah (which means: Treasury of the glorious rest) another parallel (Jesus is our glorious rest). This is one reason why they did not recognize him. He was also over a decade older from the time they sold him – he was no longer a teenager, he was a full grown man with a golden goatee hanging off his chin. He also looked and talked just like an Egyptian.

 He calls them “spies” but only to bring about enough fear to eventually test them in order to get them to bring Benjamin, Joseph’s blood-brother. Joseph yearned to see his little brother and Father Jacob.

Genesis 42:21-24
21 And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us. 22 And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required. 23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter. 24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.

Their guilt starts to really set in. And they confess their sin, their evil before Joseph, not knowing that it was Joseph who understood. This verbal confession and genuine regret on their part is what caused Joseph to turn away and weep in secret. This is how we feel when someone who has hurt us regrets it. Their confession was already bringing healing to Joseph’s heart.

He took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes – Joseph didn’t let them off the hook that easily, he allowed them to get a little taste of their own medicine.

Genesis 42:25-28
25 Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man's money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them. 26 And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence. 27 And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it was in his sack's mouth. 28 And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us?

They noticed that their money has been restored and placed back their grain sack – They thought that they were doomed but in reality, Joseph was already showing undeserved kindness to them.

This is a clear picture of God’s grace in that eternal life is free – when we try and work for our salvation, He kindly says keep your money, My salvation is free of charge. Hunger, Humility and faith are all He wants from us. Plus this shows us that salvation is blessing upon blessing (they got sacks of grain and their money back). God has given us His Son and everything that comes with Him!

Romans 8:31,32 
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?

Genesis 42:29-38
29 And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that befell unto them; saying, 30 The man, who is the lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country. 31 And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies: 32 We be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan. 33 And the man, the lord of the country, said unto us, Hereby shall I know that ye are true men; leave one of your brethren here with me, and take food for the famine of your households, and be gone: 34 And bring your youngest brother unto me: then shall I know that ye are no spies, but that ye are true men: so will I deliver you your brother, and ye shall traffick in the land. 

35 And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every man's bundle of money was in his sack: and when both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid. 36 And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me. 37 And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again. 38 And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

They will eventually run out of food and again be forced to go back for more. To be continued.

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