The Power of the Promise Part IX

Lessons From the Life of Joseph – Part III

Joseph and His Brothers

At the very beginning of the seven fruitful years Joseph, in full New Covenant faith and filled with the wisdom which is from above, began preparation for the approaching famine. He gave orders for the erection of immense storehouses in the main centres throughout Egypt. Ample arrange-ments were made for preserving the surplus of the expected harvest. This same policy was contin-ued during the seven years until the amount of grain stored up was beyond computation!

We too right now live in a time of plenty. But a famine, even more severe than Egypt's seven-year famine, is ahead of us.

“Behold, the says come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.” Amos 8:11-13.

Who are these virgins that will faint for thirst in the coming spiritual famine? The answer is given in Matthew 25:1-13.

“When that day comes, the kingdom of Heaven will be like this. There were ten girls, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five prudent; when the foolish ones took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the others took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was late in coming they all dozed off to sleep. But at midnight a cry was heard: “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” With that the girls all got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the pru-dent, “Our lamps are going out; give us some of your oil.” “No,” they said; “There will never be enough for all of us. You had better go to the shop and buy some for yourselves.” While they were away the bridegroom arrived; those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. And then the others came back. “Sir, sir,” they cried, “open the door for us,” But he answered, “I declare, I do not know you.” Keep awake then; for you never know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25:1-13 from the New English Bible.

Right now like Joseph, in full New Covenant faith, we are to be storing up the abundant oil of the Spirit by storing up the word of God, His truth and His promises, in the spirit of our minds. Why? Because a time is coming when our Bibles will be taken away by the Mark of the Beast au-thorities and, even more deadly, the Holy Spirit will be withdrawn from the world. Before that time we must have our souls and spirits filled with the Truth and Spirit of God! The remnant of the Third Angel's Movement of true Adventism will be the storehouses of spiritual “grain” during the final crisis of spiritual “famine!”

Joseph Tests His Brothers (Genesis chs 42 – 45)

In their youth Joseph's brothers were wicked, selfish, jealous, and full of vice. They sold Joseph into Egypt in order to prevent the promise of his mysterious dreams from coming true. Little did they realize that by selling him into slavery they were making sure that the dreams, of their having to bow down before him, would be absolutely fulfilled!

The famine extended to the land of Canaan and was severely felt in that part of the country where Jacob dwelt. Hearing of the abundant provision made by Egypt's Pharaoh, Jacob advised his sons to go down to Egypt to buy grain. On their arrival they came before Joseph and bowed before him with their faces to the ground. Joseph knew his brethren but they did not recognize the now full grown Prime Minister of Egypt whom they had sold as a stripling about 22 years before. As Jo-seph saw his brothers stooping and bowing, his dreams came to his mind and the scenes of the past rose vividly before him. He saw that Benjamin was not among them and he proceeded to test them to ascertain whether they had changed any at all over the two decades since he was sold.

The rest of the story is well known. We shall list the main events:

  • Joseph accused them of being spies.
  • They pleaded not guilty.
  • They explained that they were twelve brothers. The sons of one man, one brother being dead the other being at home.
  • Joseph told them to send one to fetch the youngest brother.
  • They refused, and chose to “stick it out” together in prison.
  • On the third day he brought them out and told them that their lives would be spared only on condition that they bring back the youngest brother. Simeon is held in prison as surety.
  • Joseph ordered each man's money to be put back in his sack and food for the trip to be given.
  • They returned to Canaan to Jacob and related every detail to the Patriarch.
  • Jacob is grieved, he said, “Do you want to make me lose all my children? Joseph is gone: Simeon is gone; and now you want to take away Benjamin. I am the one who suffers!” Genesis 42:36 (TEV)
  • Jacob refused to send Benjamin.
  • The famine got worse, the grain was nearly exhausted.
  • The ten brothers simply waited.
  • The point of desperation is reached.
  • Jacob gave the command, “Go again, buy us a little food.”
  • Judah answered up and said that they could not return without Benjamin.
  • Jacob at last consented. He bade them to take back presents and double monies.
  • The ten sons journeyed to Egypt (Trip No. 2)
  • Joseph's eye fell upon Benjamin and he was deeply moved.
  • He ordered them to be taken to the Governor's palace.
  • Simeon was released.
  • All eleven bowed again before Joseph.
  • He enquired about their father.
  • They were seated in chronological order.
  • Joseph hid and cried.
  • Benjamin was given five times more food, to test whether the brothers were still envious.
  • He sent them back having put the Governor's silver cup in Benjamin's sack.
  • At the outskirts of the city they were overtaken by the Governor's steward.
  • The accusation was laid, the search was made and the cup found in Benjamin's sack.
  • They are taken back to Egypt.
  • Benjamin must be enslaved for the “crime.”
  • Judah pleaded once, in fact, twice.
  • Joseph ordered all others but his brothers to remain in the room.
  • With loud weeping Joseph made himself known to his brethren. He hugged them and wept upon their shoulders.

“Joseph was satisfied. He had seen in his brothers the fruits of true repentance. Upon hear-ing Judah’s noble offer he gave orders that all but these men should withdraw; then, weep-ing aloud, he cried, ‘I am Joseph; doth my father yet live?’

His brothers stood motionless, dumb with fear and amazement. The ruler of Egypt their brother Joseph, whom they had envied and would have murdered, and finally sold as a slave! All their ill treatment of him passed before them. They remembered how they had despised his dreams and had labored to prevent their fulfillment. Yet they had acted their part in fulfilling these dreams; and now that they were completely in his power he would, no doubt, avenge the wrong that he had suffered.

Seeing their confusion, he said kindly, ‘Come near to me, I pray you;’ and as they came near, he continued, ‘I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.’ Feeling that they had already suffered enough for their cruelty toward him, he nobly sought to banish their fears and lessen the bitterness of their self-reproach.

‘For these two years,’ he continued, ‘hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and He hath made me a father to Phar-aoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not: and thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast: and there will I nourish thee; for yet there are five years of famine; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come to poverty. And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you.’ ‘And he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept; and Benja-min wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and af-ter that his brethren talked with him.’ They humbly confessed their sin and entreated his forgiveness. They had long suffered anxiety and remorse, and now they rejoiced that he was still alive.” P.P. 230.

Jacob In Egypt

“The sons of Jacob returned to their father with the joyful tidings, ‘Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt.’ At first the aged man was overwhelmed; he could not believe what he heard; but when he saw the long train of wagons and loaded animals, and when Benjamin was with him once more, he was convinced, and in the fullness of his joy exclaimed, ‘It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.’

Another act of humiliation remained for the ten brothers. They now confessed to their fa-ther the deceit and cruelty that for so many years had embittered his life and theirs. Jacob had not suspected them of so base a sin, but he saw that all had been overruled for good, and he forgave and blessed his erring children.

The father and his sons, with their families, their flocks and herds, and numerous atten-dants, were soon on the way to Egypt. With gladness of heart they pursued their journey, and when they came to Beersheba the patriarch offered grateful sacrifices and entreated the Lord to grant them an assurance that He would go with them. In a vision of the night the divine word came to him: ‘Fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great nation. I will go down with thee into Egypt; and I will also surely bring thee up again.’

The assurance, ‘Fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of thee a great na-tion,’ was significant. The promise had been given to Abraham of a posterity numberless as the stars, but as yet the chosen people had increased but slowly. And the land of Canaan now offered no field for the development of such a nation as had been foretold. It was in the possession of powerful heathen tribes, that were not to be dispossessed until ‘the fourth generation.’ If the descendants of Israel were here to become a numerous people, they must either drive out the inhabitants of the land or disperse themselves among them. The former, according to the divine arrangement, they could not do; and should they mingle with the Canaanites, they would be in danger of being seduced into idolatry. Egypt, how-ever, offered the conditions necessary to the fulfillment of the divine purpose. A section of country well-watered and fertile was open to them there, affording every advantage for their speedy increase. And the antipathy they must encounter in Egypt on account of their occu-pation–for every shepherd was ‘an abomination unto the Egyptians’–would enable them to remain a distinct and separate people and would thus serve to shut them out from partici-pation in the idolatry of Egypt.” P.P. 231.

Conclusion

What an amazing story!

Oh how powerful is the eternal purpose of God's everlasting (New) Covenant!

Paul saw in all these stories the beauty of the Gospel! He wrote with exultation:

In view of all this what can we say? If God is for us, who can be against us? Certainly not God, who did not even keep back His own son but offered Him for us all! He gave us His Son – will he not freely give us all things?

We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to His purpose.

Appeal

Commit the keeping of your soul to God, and trust in Him. Talk and think of Jesus. Let self be lost in Him. Put away all doubt; dismiss your fears. Say with the rsquotle Paul, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” Gal. 2:20. REST IN GOD. He is able to keep that which you have committed to Him. If you will leave yourself in His hands, He will bring you off more than conqueror through Him that has loved you. (SC 72) Amen!