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Genesis 42




SCRIPTURE: Genesis 42

As this chapter opens, the predicted seven years of plenty followed by a severe famine is happening.  We discover this famine was not just limited to Egypt but to the surrounding area.  In fact, Jacob’s sons would have travelled perhaps more than 250 miles to Egypt and the round trip could have required maybe six weeks.  

Nevertheless, Jacob sent ten of his sons to Egypt with money to buy grain.  He made the decision to keep Benjamin at home.  There are perhaps a couple of reasons for this.  One, Benjamin was the youngest son.  Two, Benjamin was, as far as Jacob knew, the last living son of his beloved Rachel.  Three, after the episode with Joseph 30 years later, Jacob may not have trusted his other sons to do the right thing.

As Joseph deals with his brothers, they begin to think that they are being punished for their treatment of Joseph.  In verse 22, Rueben makes two important statements.  One, “Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy?”  Two, “So now there comes a reckoning for his blood?”

It had been 30 years since the boys sold Joseph to the traders.  But it seems the guilt of their actions was still eating away at them.  It as though they fully expected to be punished for their grievous action at any moment.  Rueben reinforces that when he talks about giving an answer for his (Joseph’s) blood.

One of the take aways from this is God has given us a conscience not to be a nuisance but to be a necessary check in our behavior.  A good, healthy conscience brings to mind the things we have messed up so that we can clean them up.  We need to be thankful for our conscience and its important but often painful.  Another take away from this is our sin always requires a response.  There is always a cost associated with our sin.  Always.  We either by grace through faith accept Jesus’ payment for our sin or we will pay eternally for our sin.  In case you are wondering, it is a million times better to accept by grace through faith Jesus’ payment.

It is at this point in the story that we read in verse 24 about Joseph crying.  While it is true that he walked away from the group to cry, at least we see him expressing emotion for his brothers and perhaps even for himself.  It has often been said that it takes a big man to cry.

There are five other times that we will Joseph cry.  One will be when he sees his brother Benjamin.  The second will be when he reveals his identity to his brothers.  The third will be when he sees his father, Jacob.  The fourth will be when his father dies.  And the fifth will be when he assured his brothers that they were truly forgiven.

What a person chooses to weep over is a good indication of that person’s character.  So, what is it that causes you to cry?  And what does that say about who you are?

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Genesis 41




SCRIPTURE: Genesis 41

I have never been in prison.  I have never spent a night or even an hour in jail.  So, the prospect of spending two years in prison seems unbearable to me.  To think that I would be imprisoned on false charges would make the two years even more difficult.  But as this chapter opens, that is exactly where we find Joseph. 

He had been in the Egyptian prison for two years.  Although God most certainly could have interceded at any time and freed Joseph, He obviously chose to allow Joseph to stay in jail.  It is difficult to understand why other than there must have been some things Joseph needed to learn that could only be learned in that prison. 

It may not be a physical jail but a lot of us have probably found ourselves in less than desirable circumstances and had an overwhelming desire to get out.  We may have prayed, pleaded, or begged God to get us out.  Sometimes God gets us out immediately.  Sometimes God leaves us there because there is the only place that we will learn what we need to learn.  The measure of faith is what we do with where God has us.

But as this chapter progresses, we learn that when it is time for God’s sovereign plan to start, things can happen really quickly.  Joseph is remembered by the cupbearer.  Joseph is released by Pharaoh.  Joseph is more than restored in Egypt.

I love that in verse 16, Joseph refused to take credit for his ability to interpret dreams.  He knew it was God at work in him and He quickly gave the credit where it was due even to a man who worshipped idols like Pharaoh.

Here is another thing I love about Joseph.  When he was given the number two spot in all of Egypt, he went to work preparing for what he knew was going to happen.  I want to hope that I would put things in motion for the days ahead as well.  But I honestly think I would taken a little bit of time and zinged the cupbearer for his forgetfulness and I may have taken a little bit of vengeance on Potiphar’s wife.  As far as we know, Joseph didn’t do that.  So, now you know how black my heart is…

As the story progresses, Joseph is given an Egyptian wife.  They have two sons: Manasseh and Ephraim.   Manasseh basically means forgetting.  Ephraim basically means twice fruitful.

Joseph didn’t forget his family or the events that occurred.  But he did forget the pain and suffering they caused.  It would have been very easy for Joseph to carry a grudge particularly against his brothers.  But he chose not to.  His willingness to let that go was undoubtedly a huge part of the victory he was experiencing.

The name Ephraim or twice fruitful can be looked at in at least a couple of ways.  One, it could obviously mean that Joseph now had two boys.  Two, it could even have something to do with his being the second most powerful man in Egypt. 

The lesson I want to leave you with today is simple.  True success is often dependent on forgetting (taking off the old hurts, issues, problems) and being fruitful (making a conscious decision to put on a new attitude about life).  I hope that you will be able to do both today.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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