To: 8 readers (Editorial note: pool grows!)
From: Su Min (Lim Su Min)
Subject: Joseph Meets His Brothers
Here are a few passages that reinforce the concept of the supreme and everlasting qualities of the Word of God.
Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Proverbs 30:5
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. Psalm 18:30
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands for ever Isaiah 40:8
The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands for ever
1 Peter 1:24-25.
The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12.
He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood and his name is the Word of God.
We praise God for His Word!
Today His Word brings us to Genesis 42, right into the heart of the famine.
The seven fat cows, the seven good ears of corn, the seven years of plentiful harvest have long gone. Famine has devastated Egypt and the surrounding country. People are hungry. There is not enough to eat, except in Egypt, where, under Joseph's God-inspired administration, grain has been hoarded during the years of plenty for this very purpose. Jacob, the patriarch of the family in Canaan witnesses the numbing effect of starvation through his household and prods his sons into action (Gen 42:5), sending them to Egypt (all, that is except Benjamin). The ten brothers are ushered into the presence of the great authority, Joseph, the Governor, Grand Vizier of Egypt, to whom they bow down, with their face to the ground (Gen 42:6), and Joseph remembers his dream of the bowing sheaves of corn (Gen 42:9, Gen 37:5-7). It is a testimony to the Word itself, when predictions made in one part are confirmed fulfilled in a later section. And indeed, in the court of the Grand Vizier of Egypt indeed we see the "sheaves of corn" bowing in homage to the dreamer! "Do you intend to reign over us?" they had sneered (Gen 37:8). God had mighty plans for the dreamer!
Joseph accuses the brothers of being spies (Gen 42:8), imprisons them, and asks that one brother be sent to bring Benjamin to him (Gen 42:16). After 3 days of imprisonment, he offers to release all but one, still asking for Benjamin to be brought to him (Gen 42:20). In their course of discussion the brothers recognise their previous sins against Joseph (Gen 42:21-22). They discuss in Hebrew, not recognising Joseph and not realising that the Egyptian Grand Vizier could understand them (Gen 42:23). This moment of contrition and confession touches Joseph (Gen 42:24). His love for them in spite of their trespass against him is a marvel, and something for us to emulate. Joseph selects Simeon as hostage (Simeon was second son to Leah and Jacob (Gen 29:33): tradition has it that he was the most cruel of the brothers). Joseph instructs that the brothers are to be given provisions for their travel as well as the grain that they came to purchase. He also instructs that the silver used to buy the grain is to be secretly returned, placed in the sacks of grain (Gen 42:25). One lot of silver is discovered in a sack of grain the night of departure (Gen 42:27-28), and the other 8 lots only when they are back in Canaan as they are reporting to Jacob (Gen 42:35). Jacob refuses to send Benjamin to Egypt, even though Rueben pledges his two sons (Gen 42: 36-38).
What lessons shout out to us from this passage?
Firstly, to me, is the meticulousness of God's planning. Neither the dreamer nor his brothers could have seen way back in Gen 37:5-7 of how this dream was come to fulfilment: But God had plans: and the slave traders, Potiphar, Potiphar's wife, the captain of the guard, Butler, Baker, Pharaoh, the seven fat cows and the seven thin cows all had their own parts to play in this unfolding story.
So too, for us, caught up in the turmoil of the concrete jungle and the rat race of the paper chase: often we cannot perceive how God is going to carry out His purpose in our lives. But He has a purpose and a plan for each one of us. We need to learn to be still and hear his small voice. We need to learn to submit our will to His will. We need to learn to seek his glory and we need to determine to do His will. Did not Jesus teach us to pray "Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matt 6:10). So comes the need for daily prayer and bible study. How else are we going to learn of God's will for us?
We also learn from this lesson, some components of repentance: that we must admit our faults and wrong doings as a first step to reconciliation (Gen 42:21-22). This is appropriate for reconciliation between brother and brother, between father and son, between husband and wife, between man and God. If we do not, if we will not, admit the errors of our way, a gulf will divide us from those who stretch out in love towards us.
Let us close in prayer,
Father, thank you for your Word, and for the lesson today.Love Dad
Thank you for the reassurance that you are in charge of everything.
Thank you for being us through our ups and downs.
Thank you for showing us the need for repentance.
Thank you for your continual efforts to reconcile ourselves with you.
In the name of Him who died and was raised for our reconciliation, Jesus,
our Lord and Saviour..
For any comments or enquiries please write to Dr. Lim Su Min
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