Bible Text: Genesis 42:1-28 | Preacher: Pastor Steve | Series: Seal Training
There are FOUR principles we need to learn as part of our S.E.A.L. life skill training:
When someone wrongs us we are to forgive even if they do not ask for forgiveness.
Forgiveness does not mean we will stop having negative thoughts and/or feelings.
Forgiving and Praying and hoping for justice are not incompatible concepts
When we have been wronged and the person who wronged us has not admitted it our first concern is the person’s relationship with God!
Why do bad things happen to good people? Joseph’s challenge was to forgive his brothers for all they did to him: Injured him; Rejected him; Sold him into slavery; Abandoned him
God wants us to forgive those who are responsible for our woundedness.
Matthew 6:14-15 If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Hebrews 10:31 It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
The drought and lack of food hit the entire region: Genesis 42:1-4 When Jacob heard that grain was available in Egypt; he said to his sons, why are you standing around looking at one another? I have heard there is grain in Egypt. Go down there, and buy enough grain to keep us alive. Otherwise we’ll die. So Joseph’s ten older brothers went down to Egypt to buy grain. But Jacob wouldn’t let Joseph’s younger brother, Benjamin, go with them, for fear some harm might come to him.
God uses the famine to bring the brothers back together again: Genesis 42:5-8 So Jacob’s sons arrived in Egypt along with others to buy food, for the famine was in Canaan as well. Since Joseph was governor of all Egypt and in charge of selling grain to all the people, it was to him that his brothers came. When they arrived, they bowed before him with their faces to the ground. Joseph recognized his brothers instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. Where are you from? he demanded.
From the land of Canaan, they replied. We have come to buy food. Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they didn’t recognize him.
Joseph KNEW his brothers but they did not know Joseph.
Flashbacks: Genesis 42:9 And he remembered the dreams he’d had about them many years before. He said to them, You are spies! You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.
Joseph remembered his dreams: Genesis 37:9-11 Soon Joseph had another dream, and again he told his brothers about it. Listen, I have had another dream, he said. The sun, moon, and eleven stars bowed low before me! This time he told the dream to his father as well as to his brothers, but his father scolded him. What kind of dream is that? he asked. Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow to the ground before you? But while his brothers were jealous of Joseph, his father wondered what the dreams meant.
This is the day that would reveal why God had allowed him to be sold into Egypt. Joseph had the power to retaliate and his brothers would have no choose:
He could have imprisoned them so they would have known what it felt like to be in prison
He could have sent them back to Canaan without food that would have meant a slow death
He could have accused them as being spies and had them executed
Genesis 42:7-13 Joseph recognized his brothers instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. Where are you from, he demanded. From the land of Canaan, they replied. We have come to buy food. Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they didn’t recognize him. And he remembered the dreams he’d had about them many years before. He said to them, You are spies! You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become. No, my lord! they exclaimed. Your servants have simply come to buy food. We are all brothers—members of the same family. We are honest men, sir! We are not spies! Yes, you are! Joseph insisted. You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become. Sir, they said, there are actually twelve of us. We, your servants, are all brothers, sons of a man living in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is back there with our father right now, and one of our brothers is no longer with us.
Genesis 42:14-17 But Joseph insisted, as I said, you are spies! This is how I will test your story. I swear by the life of Pharaoh that you will never leave Egypt unless your youngest brother comes here! One of you must go and get your brother. I’ll keep the rest of you here in prison. Then we’ll find out whether or not your story is true. By the life of Pharaoh, if it turns out that you don’t have a younger brother, then I’ll know you are spies. So Joseph put them all in prison for three days.
Joseph noted that they had said nothing of God in their answers.
The Challenge! Genesis 42:18 On the third day Joseph said to them, I am a God-fearing man. If you do as I say, you will live.
The Plan! Genesis 42:19-20 If you really are honest men, choose one of your brothers to remain in prison. The rest of you may go home with grain for your starving families. But you must bring your youngest brother back to me. This will prove that you are telling the truth, and you will not die. To this they agreed.
The Guilt! Genesis 42:21-22 Speaking among themselves, they said, Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this trouble. Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? Reuben asked. But you wouldn’t listen. And now we have to answer for his blood!
The Heart! Genesis 42:24 Now he turned away from them and began to weep. When he regained his composure, he spoke to them again. Then he chose Simeon from among them and had him tied up right before their eyes.
Joseph tested his brothers by putting each man’s silver back in his sack. Genesis 42:28 Look! he exclaimed to his brothers. My money has been returned; it’s here in my sack! Then their hearts sank. Trembling, they said to each other, What has God done to us?
These brothers had now for the first time acknowledge openly that God was involved in what was happening.
How do you handle forgiveness particularly when it comes to forgiving someone who had sinned against you and had not admitted it or sought forgiveness?
How do you handle negative feeling that tend to surface even though you have forgiven someone as an act of the will?
What additional principles can we glean from Joseph’s life in relation to forgiveness?
Is there any experience you would feel free to share where you are presently struggling with forgiving someone who has hurt you?
How can we pray for you particularly?