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Gen. 43:1-34 - Banquet of Grace - Part 1
So, how do we restore broken relationships and overcome the sometimes profound hurt and pain that sin causes? Small sins can easily be forgiven, right? If someone’s late to a planned meeting, or doesn’t even show up at all, something like that can stew in ya for a minute, but can easily be forgiven and overlooked. However, major crimes are a different story. When someone has sinned against us in traumatic, life-altering ways, just saying sorry don’t seem like it's enough.
Forgiving someone who’s sinned against us in a major way isn’t necessarily the same thing as being reconciled to them and restored to a new relationship. We can’t pretend that nothin’ happened, or that their sin wasn’t serious. To be truly reconciled, there needs to be repentance and remorse over the sin, the kind of repentance which leads to a changed life.
And that is what God was up to in this part of the story of Joseph. God wasn’t merely using Joseph as a pawn to provide the food that Jacob’s family needed to survive during the major famine. His goal was to restore and renew the family’s broken relationships, and for that to happen Joseph needed to be able to see that his brothers had changed. Of course, our God is in the business of making peace in the most broken of families. And Jacob’s family was no ordinary family.
Remember in Gen. 35:11 God promised Jacob that his family would become a “company” or (“qahal, church”) of nations - a harmonious band of brothers living together in unity. Yeah right!! This promise sure seems impossible up to the point we are at in the text. It’s little wonder that Joseph made no effort to contact his father or brother’s once he was exalted in Egypt.
Maybe he thought he was completely done with that part of his life. He did name his oldest son Manasseh (forgetful), after all. He wanted to turn the page and move on like so many of us tend to do. Yet God’s plans for Joseph and his brothers were different and more gracious.
As we saw, God initiated the next phase of this story by sending a famine which became the means that raised Joseph to his exalted position in Egypt and also the circumstance that forced his brothers to travel there for food. It had to be God who enabled Joseph, upon recognizing his brothers, to resist the temptation to have them put in prison and put to death.
God planned another chapter in the story of this family in which Joseph would finally be reunited to his father and reconciled to his brothers. Their peace would be restored and God’s promise of a united family of faith would be fulfilled.
And these next 3 chapters are some words of hope to us as well. Maybe right now there is no peace in your own family. Maybe they are all sinnin’ against each other and yourself in little and big ways, and there’s major brokenness within the family. You might be tempted to disregard these next couple messages and move on, simply trying to forget your family and the pain that they’ve caused you. And know this. The peace of your family won’t necessarily be healed this side of heaven. God does not deal with every family in the same way, nor does He heal every hurt of our hearts here and now.
Yet this story reminds us that God has the power to heal even YOUR family! Sometimes he restores our brokenness in radical ways in the present. The end of your story - and the story of your family - is not yet written, so don’t ever give up hope for reconciliation.
Of course, even if your family remains unreconciled here on earth, ultimately God has a plan for the complete peace of all His people in heaven. There, all our families will be made whole, all of the sinful brokenness that now causes us pain will be fully healed, and all the tears we have shed over our families will be wiped away as we are made fully one in Christ!
Join us next week as we start diving into this awesome text. Blessings to you all.