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Chapter 45:1-28 - A Family Reunion - Part 3
So, the story of Joseph and his brothers trending now on all the social media, words getting around. So now we read in vs. 16...
Vs. 16-20 - “When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come,Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased.
Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’
“You are also directed to tell them, ‘Do this: Take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come. Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.’”
The text doesn’t record Joseph’s solicitation of Pharaoh here, but there’s no doubt that Joseph and Pharaoh had a number of conversations about this. No doubt Joseph asked his permission. Joseph was a man of faith and submission, not presumption. So Pharaoh gets behind him and issues a decree, an “order” to go and get them, but he doesn’t stop there. Watch this, very cool...
- These wagons or carts here, these would be like a luxury limousine! To travel in one of Pharaoh's chariots, these guys were sylin’.
- He says he will give them the best of the land. Now they’re gonna be in Goshen of the Northeastern area of the Nile delta. Tremendous grazing acreage, and abundant land.
Think large gated community. There’s going to be a degree of abundance, and really, segregation from the rest of the Egyptian population there in the Nile.
What I’m seeing here is the very same thing that I see in Eph. 3. Here Joseph asks for provision - “here’s what I want” - the king he’s submitted to, gives him the absolute very best he has to offer, far more than this humble man really expected. Even as you and I, as we submit to our king, Jesus, our heavenly Father, simply run the Lord’s program for our lives, we will discover that He is leading us to that human flourishing, that Eph. 3:20 - “To exceedingly abundantly far more than we could ever ask or think.”
I’m speaking to the younger Christians, and I’m not talking about age, but spiritual maturity: Running the Lord’s program is leading you into human flourishing! God isn’t interested in taking away from you, He is interested in adding unto you. God’s design is NOT begrudging submission... do this, do that, submit to me... Begrudging submission is not going to glorify God - Amen?!
What God is leading you too is absolute delight in Him, He is leading you into human flourishing. The thou shalts and thou shalt nots, they are not designed to beg you into begrudging submission. They are leading you, because the Lord designed it in this way - all the commands of God are leading you into the very richest and deepest and most meaningful and enjoyable life that you could have. God is not subtractive from your joy, understand He is leading you into the very best mental spiritual help possible in this life (Heb. 12:1).
Notice here in vs. 20 he says - “Look, forget about your ‘stuff.’ Forget about all that junk you got back there in Canaan, the BEST of the new land is yours.”
It’s interesting that the Latin word for this Hebrew term is “impedimenta.” It’s where we get our word “peditment” from.
There are so many THINGS that we cling to, that we can’t let go of, that just end up serving as an ‘Impediment’ to our spiritual progress. That many of these material things that we just wanna cling to IMPEDE our spiritual growth. So it’s right back to Phil. 3:13-14. Recognize there’s a new day dawning here and that this stuff in the past needs to be let go of man, it’s time to move forward and to press upward and onward into the Lord! (Rev. 21:5).
Picking it up in vs. 21 - more Gospel!!
Vs. 21-28 - “ So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey.
So they’ve been broken, they’ve confessed, and now he’s sending them on a journey... See the Gospel? What are the 2 things he’s giving them? Provision for the journey, vs. 21 - and a change of garments... vs. 22...
“To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five sets of clothes. And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!”
So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan.
They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.”Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel said, “I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”
And this picture of the Gospel continues! Notice Joseph gives them 2 things: Vs. 21, provision for the journey and the new garments in vs. 22. In the N.T. the Apostle Paul speaks of us being clothed in the righteousness of Christ (Rom. 13:14, Eph. 4:22-24). And he talks about this idea that the old garments are put away and the new garments of Christ, of righteousness, are put on. The imagery of garments in the N.T. speaks to this new beginning we now have being IN Christ.
So, Let’s put it all together:
- These guys are broken,
- they come to confession,
- they are restored,
- their guilt is lifted off them,
- they are now given new garments and provision for the journey! This is the Gospel!
Embedded over and over again in the narrative of Genesis, thousands of years before it happened! WOW!!
It is interesting that Benjamin is given additional provision, and I have to think there is a real lingering test being put before these boys, right? “All right, you’ve been restored, your guilt’s been taken, you’ve been given great provision - now, are you still going to be okay with the younger favored brother?!”
In other words, the very sins that landed you all of these years of heartache and grief, have you really risen above that? You’ve confessed, you’ve shown repentance, now are you able to walk in that? (John 15:16). The Bible tells us God is interested in the fruit that REMAINS.
Now Jacob here gets additional provision no doubt, because he is still the patriarch. So, we’ll see Jacob taking the lead role here once again soon, but for now, what I think is also interesting in this narrative is something we have talked about before, so I won’t go into great detail. After his wrestling match, after his encounter with God - even as you and I have these 2 dueling natures within us - but after that, Jacob has been going back and forth, the Bible is either calling him Jacob or Israel depending on whether he’s walking in the spirit or walking in the flesh.
Notice how strikingly and how swiftly that is born out here. Vs. 26 - “Jacob was stunned for he did not believe...”
Vs. 27 - “His spirit revived - Bam!
Top of Vs. 28 - “Israel said...”
What I really want us to get in this passage of scripture is back up there in vs. 24.
So he sends these guys off and what is the exhortation? “Don’t quarrel on the journey!” You might have “Don’t be troubled” or “don’t fall out.” But the clear idea is this - “See that you don’t fight with one another. Don’t argue and bicker and agitate one another.” Again, what a crazy interesting picture here of the Gospel with Joseph as a type of Christ.
Here come the brothers, they’ve repented, they are now in a right relationship with Joseph, he has sent them on this journey, and what now is the exhortation? “Be nice to each other guys - no fighting, don’t fall out, just get along, don’t antagonize each other.” (John 13:31; Eph. 4:2, 15).
And here WE were - we were out of “THE WAY” - we were at enmity with God and yet we were then somehow brought into a right relationship with Christ, and what’s the chief word that Christ gives you and I as we are living out this existence?
Look - Love one another! Be kind, be forgiving, be gentle, elevate the needs of others over yourself, speak truth in love...
Let me finish with this. There is more to this narrative than just a good ‘rags to riches’ story. The ‘famine-to-fortune’ story of Joseph’s family points forward to our own ‘famine-to-fortune’ story.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says to all who hear Him: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” (Luke 6:20-21).
Through Christ, the good report to Jacob echoes into each of our lives as we struggle under the shadow of death.mThe Son who was dead is now alive!!!! He is the Lord of the land, the Crown Prince of all creation! Jesus has taken the cost of our sin into Himself! If you belong to Him, He has forgiven your sins and has covered you and clothed you in His righteousness. Jesus has freed you from the endless cycle of accusation, guilt, and self-defense, of sin, shame, and suffering. Because the Father is pleased with Jesus, we are welcomed into His kingdom!
God the Father and Jesus the Lord have called us into an inheritance of royal richness, from which not even death can separate us! While we wait for our inheritance, we are given everything that we need to bring us safely there! Like Pharaoh's wagons, the H.S. confirms the truth of our invitation and brings us into the resurrection life of Jesus that we are invited to share.
Jacob’s response to the announcement of Joseph’s “resurrection” was strikingly similar to the apostle’s response to reports of the resurrection of Jesus: a mix of unbelief and belief and belief, doubt and faith.
To add to our faith, Jesus surrounds us with tokens of His reality and His grace, tokens that testify that because Jesus has burst the bonds of death, we will one day see Him face-to-face in the true ‘Land of the Living’.
So however terrible your circumstances might feel right now, they are NOT the last word!
Blessings to you all.