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Gen. 42:1-38 - Guilt and Grace - Part 2
Last week we saw Joseph’s brother come to Egypt for food, and what they didn’t know was that it was their brother they were making the request to. Let’s continue with the text:
Vs. 9-20 - “Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, “You are spies!You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”
“No, my lord,” they answered. “Your servants have come to buy food. We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies.”
“No!” he said to them. “You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”
But they replied, “Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one is no more.”
Joseph said to them, “It is just as I told you: You are spies! And this is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. Send one of your number to get your brother; the rest of you will be kept in prison, so that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth. If you are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” And he put them all in custody for three days.
On the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison, while the rest of you go and take grain back for your starving households.
But you must bring your youngest brother to me, so that your words may be verified and that you may not die.” This they proceeded to do.”
Again, understand that if Joseph would have come right out and said he was Joseph, that there would have been no opportunity for God to search their hearts and to deal with their consciousnesses to bring about confession.
So, Joseph recognizes these are his brothers here, but he treats them initially as he would a foreigner that he should be rightly sceptical of. Let’s see how they respond, put them in a corner and see how they react. This is brilliant on the part of God here. Not only is this an opportunity to put these guys in a corner in order to get a response, but I want us to see how God orchestrated this.
It’s just awesome, this is a mirror upon their consciousness because it’s essentially a reenactment of what they did to Joseph! Remember 20 years ago at the mouth of that pit, Jacob, Dad, sends Joseph to check out his brothers, and - “Hey, here comes this dreamer to spy on us - No, Dad sent me here - No, your spying on us...” and they throw him in the pit. Now here is an inverted picture. Dad sends the brothers and now Joseph says - “No, you're spies” and he throws them in the prison.
So not only is this brilliantly designed by God in such a way as to get a response, to bring forth information, to begin to print their consciousness, but it's also done in such a way that it’s a reenactment of the sin that they had committed earlier.
Vs. 21-28 - “They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother.We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.”
Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.
He turned away from them and began to weep, but then came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes.”
Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to put each man’s silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. After this was done for them, they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.
At the place where they stopped for the night one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his silver in the mouth of his sack. “My silver has been returned,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.”
Their hearts sank and they turned to each other trembling and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”
It’s interesting in vs. 23 there, they don’t know that Joe understands every word they are saying, so the beans are beginning to spill. Joe’s getting the inside story, he knows Ruben wasn’t the ring leader. Their minds are being brought back now to deal with their sin.
This is what this story has for us. The very first step in reconciliation in any relationship is always recognition of our OWN sin! People can save themselves thousands of dollars in counseling fees if they would simply look at their OWN sin and their OWN hearts. A favorite strategy of Satan for thousands of years to keep a brother or sister from growing is to keep them focused outwardly and not upon themselves.
The way you settle the abundance of spiritual problems in your life and the way that you settle disputes in any kind of relationship that you might be experiencing: The first step is to always look NOT outworldly, but inward toward your own heart and really begin to come to grips with what’s really going on in MY heart or, where is MY sin in this thing, what have I done in this situation - THAT’S where these boys have come now. THAT’S what this whole thing was designed towards.
They're at a place now where they are saying - “Look, this is my sin, this whole hassle has come about because we have sinned against our brother, Joseph.”
And now, to fuel the searching of their own hearts, Joseph has the money they bought the grain with, put back into their sacks. This is a continued testing on the part of Joseph, and this is going to work because we’ll discover the next time we are together that they’re going to bring the money back.
So the Lord has these guys in a corner where He can come in and do some real work because they are coming to the place of recognizing their own sin. (Ps. 139:23-24).
And that’s the way it is in life! Until we get to that place where we can say: God, look at ME. What are you trying to show ME? Even if that other person is totally at fault - that’s between them and God, pray for them.
When you are at that place where you can say - God, where am I in all of this...” look at Joseph and all the junk that’s happened to him - but when you can get to that place, regardless of the fault of others - Where you’re saying: “God, what is in this for ME? How have I contributed, even in some small way, God search MY heart.” When you can do that, God will RUN to that and begin to do an awesome work in your heart! (1 Peter 5:5).
Join us next week as we continue with the story. Blessings to you all.