Joseph: 20/20 Vision (Part V)
God’s Promises Come True
The famine is severe and eventually affects Joseph’s family. Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to get grain, all of them except Benjamin, the youngest and full brother of Joseph, for fear something would happen to him. In verse 6 of chapter 42 we see Joseph’s first dream come true.
“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.” (Genesis 42:6)
Joseph’s brothers bowed down to him just as the bundles of grain did in Joseph’s dream. God’s promise cams true, no matter how many years had passed. Interestingly enough, the brothers were represented by bundles of grain and when the dream comes true, they are there to collect grain from Joseph. We are told that Joseph recognized his brothers immediately but they did not recognize him. Joseph accused them of being spies and the brothers pled their innocence, but Joseph did not listen. They mentioned that they have a younger brother back home, and Joseph declared they would not leave Egypt until the younger brother arrived. Joseph put them all in prison for three days. These actions seem harsh but the brothers explained why it was happening in verse 21.
“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.’” (Genesis 42:21)
On the third day Joseph allowed all the brothers but Simeon to go back home to get Benjamin. He filled their sacks with grain, secretly returned their payment, and gave them supplies for their journey home. When the brothers returned home, Jacob refused to allow Benjamin to go, so Simeon was left in a prison in Egypt for an undisclosed amount of time. It is only when the grain they brought from Egypt is gone that Jacob told his sons to go back for more. Judah explained to his father that the governor would not see them unless Benjamin was with them.
“Judah said to his father, 'Send the boy with me, and we will be on our way. Otherwise we will all die of starvation—and not only we, but you and our little ones.'” (Genesis 43:8)
Jacob let fear control him; it was only until he was faced with starvation that he allowed his youngest to go with his other sons. In chapter 44, Joseph again sent the brothers off with grain and their payment, but this time he put his silver cup in Benjamin’s sack.
“The brothers were up at dawn and were sent on their journey with their loaded donkeys. But when they had gone only a short distance and were barely out of the city, Joseph said to his palace manager, ‘Chase after them and stop them. When you catch up with them, ask them, ‘Why have you repaid my kindness with such evil? Why have you stolen my master’s silver cup, which he uses to predict the future? What a wicked thing you have done!’” (Genesis 44:3-5)
Benjamin was to be kept as a slave for this crime, but the brothers again bowed before Joseph, and it was Judah who spoke for his brothers and pled for Benjamin’s life. Judah explained that if they returned without Benjamin, their father would die. Then Judah offered his life in place of his brother's. This sacrificial act should come of no surprise, as Hebrews 7:14 states, “…our Lord came from the tribe of Judah….”
In the next chapter, Joseph could hide the truth no longer.
“Then he broke down and wept. He wept so loudly the Egyptians could hear him, and word of it quickly carried to Pharaoh’s palace. ‘I am Joseph!’ he said to his brothers. ‘Is my father still alive?’ But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them.” (Genesis 45:2-3)
And it is here that we see that Joseph had maintained the proper perspective since the beginning.
“But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.” (Genesis 45:5,7-8)
Joseph made it clear that God had been in control the entire time, and Joseph saw a purpose. He didn't hold their sins against them; he just wanted to start fresh again with his family. His brothers planned to kill him, he was sold as a slave, he was falsely accused of rape, he was imprisoned, and he was forgotten. In all of this, Joseph did not forget that God is in control. It was true for Joseph and it’s true for you. God foils evil plans, He will help you flee temptation, He gives understanding, He has a plan, and His promises come true.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.