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Chapter 45:1-28 - A Family Reunion - Part 1
How many of ya have been to family reunions? What we have before us the next couple of weeks is really a family reunion of sorts. Just the word “family reunion” brings up images for many of us of cook-outs, really bad food from certain family members, getting into trouble with cousins... But no matter what family reunion we’ve attended, nothing we’ve ever experienced can identify with the family reunion that we’re about to read in our text this morning.
The bigger picture here is that God is moving this family that will become Israel into the womb of Egypt, that they might grow and multiply and become a great nation, through whom He intends to reveal Himself to the world.
Up to this point, remember that the family of Jacob can’t seem to, let’s say, keep it in their own barn. Several of them have either run away from home or have married pagan wives; and so God needs a place, not only so they can’t run away, but where they will kinda be forced to really just relate and intermarry among themselves.
There are really 2 reasons He’s bringing these people into Egypt.
- First, the racist Egyptians will not only oppress them and make them work for them,
- but secondly, the Egyptians will have absolutely nothing to do with them socially along the way.
So what we have is young Israel, they can’t even run away, and now they can only intermarry and relate with one another.
God is being God, always having a number of irons in the fire as He is moving this family down into Egypt now. He’s dealing with the sons of Israel, preparing them for the gig of being the 12 Patriarchs who will eventually become the 12 tribes of Israel. And God is using Joseph as His agent to do so in this incredibly awesome story that we are following.
So this family reunion before us, this whole thing has come about because of circumstances beyond their control. These 10 boys have been brought to a place of real brokenness where they have been backed into a corner, nowhere for them to go except to be real, confess their sins, and acknowledge who they were before God.
Remember 22 years ago, Joseph was the favored brother, the other brothers rejected him and betrayed him, sold him out, that was their sin. Now 22 years later God orchestrates this famine, so now those brothers have to go to the very brother they rejected for provision to live.
So the Lord, through Joseph now, sets this whole deal up to bring the younger brother Benjamin down, show him obvious and great favor, frame him as a thief to see how the other 10 brothers would react and respond to that. Younger favored brother is a thief, so are they going to abandon him as they did Joseph so many years ago, or are they going to stand up and fight for him?
Through the intercession of Judah, Joseph now comes to that understanding - “Yeah, these guys really have come to a place of repentance and an understanding of their sin.”
So the Lord now gives Joe the green light to feel that freedom to go ahead and reveal himself and let these guys know who he really is.
Vs. 1-4 - “Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.
Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!”
Now just imagine, if you possibly can, what is running through the minds of these guys! Here you have, they believe, to be this evil, bi-polar, crazy ruler dude of Egypt. This guy’s been all over the board with them. One minute he’s accusing them of being spies, the next minute he’s being nice, another minute he frames and wants to kill one of them, the next minute he’s inviting you over to dinner. And even in that, at that dinner, he proceeds to seat all 11 of them in the order of their birth, exactly! This has been one scary and unpredictable guy here! Now all of a sudden he goes back and kicks everyone out of the room and starts bawling!
He’s not just crying here, that word in Hebrew there in vs. 2, “He wept so loudly...” he’s crying out very very loudly!
And at the end of vs. 2 Joe sold out, he’s lighting up the Facebook and Twitter feeds, and now the word gets to Pharaoh as well. These guys gotta be thinking: “What in the world is this crazy guy up to here?!”
And vs. 3 tells us they are “Disturbed, troubled, stunned, or terrified” in the different translations.
Their thinking initially here: “This dude is a wack-job!”
Also remember, up to this point he has been speaking to them through an interpreter. “So how are we gonna talk with this guy now? Why the heck did he kick everyone out of the room?” This is just bizarre what’s going on here! And now, the very first words of the crazy guy’s mouth are: “I am Joseph!” in their native tongue.
I’m sure these guys were absolutely freaked out! So you can kind of imagine what must have been going through their minds! “Awesome, you mean the guy we stabbed in the back 22 years ago is now the ruler of the world?!” I’m sure their hearts and every other major organ were up in their throats by now. They're probably thinking - “This is it, man, we’re toast!”
But then Joseph says - “Now come close.” Now this word for “come close” or “come near” is a very comprehensive word in Hebrew and means “to come and to embrace and hug and kiss.”
So - “take it, easy guys, I’m not gonna kill you, just come near to me, I want you to see it's me, I want to embrace you.”
This is getting popped on the brothers, right? They certainly weren’t expecting this, they didn’t have any time to think about this. Keep in mind that Joseph, however, had a great deal of time to contemplate and peacefully go before the Lord - “What am I going to say to these guys after I reveal myself?”
So he’s thought about this quite a bit. Join us next week as we continue with the text in vs. 5.
Blessings to you all.