Joseph Study | Day Ten
By: Brittany Green | BROS IN EGYPT
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I almost forgot about Joseph’s brothers! We haven’t heard about them in a while.
Today, we’re picking up with Joseph ruling over Egypt due to his genius plan to survive the famine. He’s getting older and it’s been a long time since he’s seen his family. But guess what? They’re back!
Just to recap:
· We met Joe when he was 17.
· He was sold into slavery and moved to Egypt soon after – still probably 17 or 18.
· We’re not sure how long he worked for Potiphar before he was imprisoned, but we know he was 30 when he was rose to power over Egypt.
· 7 years of good harvest have passed and we pick up somewhere in the middle of the 7 bad years.
· It’s safe to say he’s about 40 at this time.
This means he hadn’t seen his family in over 20 years! I would imagine he changed a lot since he last saw them. In today’s chapter, Joseph would have lived an Egyptian, dressing differently than his Hebrew culture. He was older and looked different. He ultimately moved on and away from his upbringing.
Let’s break up today’s reading. Start off by reading Genesis 42:1-5.
Why are the brothers sent to Egypt?
Which brothers come to Egypt?
What habit is Jacob still stuck in? (verse 4)
Jacob still favored Rachel’s kids over the rest of his sons. He also was not trusting God’s provision or safety for his sons. Some habits are sticky!
Now read verses 6. Look back at your drawing from Day 3. Look familiar?
I’m just saying, when God says something is going to happen, He is faithful! So don’t doubt it for a second.
Keep reading through to verse 17.
Joseph recognizes his brothers, but they don’t recognize him.
Why do you think he’s being harsh to them?
What does Joseph ask the brothers to do?
Let’s see what happens. Read verses 18-22.
How do the brothers react to this situation?
It seems as if they’ve lived in the shadow of their sin against Joseph all these years—two decades to be exact! What a huge secret to keep between themselves. I would imagine after they sold Joseph, they made a pact between themselves to never tell anyone. They got their story straight and it was never to be spoken of again.
Isn’t that how most lies happen? Now, we see them realizing the effects of their actions. I love this moment between the brothers. They’re not trying to hide the secret anymore.
Let’s check out Joseph’s response to all of this. Read verses 23-25.
Joseph gets emotional! He turns away and weeps, then overly provides for his family. He fills their bags and returns their money. Joseph still loved and honored his brothers by giving those provisions for free in a time of famine. His hope was that they would realize he was their brother, without having to explicitly reveal himself.
Are we able to love and care for those that have committed the highest offense to us? If your ‘enemy’ came to you in desperate need, would you help them?
Let’s take this story a step deeper. Joseph’s journey foreshadows that of Jesus. Just as Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, Jesus was betrayed by His brethren. Just as Joseph was buried in an empty well in the desert, Jesus was buried in a tomb in the desert. Joseph was sold for pieces of silver and Jesus was also sold for pieces of silver.
Verse 22 is interesting as it shows the beauty and holistic nature of God’s word. In this verse, Reuben speaks up by saying ‘we must pay for shedding his blood’. In other words, we must pay for killing Joseph (who we know was not really dead). However, in Genesis 37, we read that Joseph’s brothers killed a goat and dipped Joseph’s special coat in the blood of the animal, as evidence of his death. What they didn’t realize is that by doing that, they made a sacrificial atonement for his life. The life of that goat became a substitute for the life of Joseph.
Joseph could have died in that prison, he could have died in the hands of Potiphar after the incident with his wife, he could have died on his way to Egypt, but despite all of the challenges, he still survived…why? Because the blood of that goat made up for him, just as the blood of Jesus atones for us. Jesus became the substitute for our lives so that we might live, not only eternally but also on earth to stand strong and survive every challenge of life.
Let’s finish out this part of the story.
Read verses 26-38.
This chapter ends with Jacob clenching his fists (maybe not literally). He’s holding on to Benjamin pretty tightly. Simeon remained in Egypt, the famine is still happening, Joseph wants reconciliation with his family, but Jacob can’t let go and trust. Joseph's story proves over and over that God is sovereign – that he’s in control. And yet Jacob can’t seem to trust the Lord.
And yet, as I read this, neither can I sometimes. There are so many things that God wants me to trust Him with, but I clench my fists. Physically speaking, clenched fists hurt muscles and joints after a while. Clenched fists hinder us from doing anything else with our hands. And yet, I still want to control my life and clench tight. But God knows better. He has a better plan for us. He wants my full trust.
How about you? What do you distrust Him with?
Sit for a moment with your hands open, palms up. Pray about what it is that you need to let go.