Transcript of Podcast
Welcome to another podcast of Rizen Fellowship. We’re glad you joined us. We’ve been going through the book of Genesis for some time now, but it’s just really been an overview type of thing to be able to see the highlights of what the book of Genesis, the 50 chapters, are about. Now, the first division that we studied is Genesis, Chapter One through 11, and it really focused on four great events. Of course, creation, the fall of mankind, the flood of Noah and then the rebellion at Babel. That was the first section. Then, from Chapter 12 to Chapter 50 is the second division of Genesis and it focuses on four great men. We see Abraham, the patriarch, and then Isaac, the promised son, then we saw Jacob who was a deceiver and really worked to scheme and get things his way who wound up submitting to God and God changed his name from Jacob, bein’ a supplanter or deceiver, to Israel, which was the prince of God. And then, the fourth character is Joseph and we’ve already done two podcasts looking at Joseph and those first ones were, No Ordinary Joe, about how Joseph was getting the dreams from God and how his brothers learned to hate him and then he was sold into slavery and the second podcast dealt with Joseph doing right when things were going wrong and that’s when he got sold into Egypt and he went down there and was sold to Potiphar and then Potiphar’s wife tried to rape him, accused him of trying to rape her and then got thrown into prison and then the cup bearer and the baker had come in and he interpreted their dreams and asked the cup bearer to remember him when he was released as Joseph interpreted his dream, but the cup bearer forgot until two years later. During that time when Joseph was sent to Egypt and was a prisoner he really conducted himself in a very Godly way and was really good, even as a prisoner and whether it was Prime Minister, he was exemplary in his character and his behavior.
Joseph: Part 3
So, this third and final podcast on the life of Joseph is called, When Dreams Come True. And, we’re gonna focus how Joseph dealt with his brothers as they were trying to be brought back together and how he was wanting to bring them to true repentance. And what Joseph did during these chapters is truly a masterpiece of spiritual insight, patience and love. In Chapter 42 we see where Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream was right on track as he had said it would be. There would be seven years of abundance. Those years had been completed and now they were gonna be followed by seven years of famine which would do away with the abundance that they had during the first seven years. This famine was extreme and it was worldwide, but Egypt, because of Jacob’s, Joseph’s insight would have grain, not only enough for them, but to sell to other people in the world. And God is gonna use several tests to bring Joseph’s brothers to repentance.
The first test was that of being hungry. Jacob, the family was running out of food and Jacob had heard that there was grain for sale in Egypt so he called his brothers together and sent nine of them. Said, go down to Egypt, I heard they’re selling grain there. Buy some grain and bring it back so we as a family don’t die. But, Jacob would not allow Joseph’s younger brother, Benjamin, to go on that trip. In his mind he’d already lost Joseph, the son of his favorite wife, Rachel, who was his favorite son. He’d already lost him. He was gonna do everything in his power to make sure that Benjamin was safe and remained alive.
So, there was the hunger. And then, there were the harsh words that Joseph, their own brother, who was now the governor of Egypt, spoke to the brothers as he met them the first time. And it’s interesting, as they were standing before Joseph they didn’t recognize him. It’s amazing that when he had the coat of many colors that their father, Jacob, had given to him, they recognized him from a far distance off. But now, he’s standin’ before them. He’s dressed, he acts and he speaks like an Egyptian and they do not recognize him.
And Joseph, literally accused them of being spies from another land, from a foreign country who had come and was gonna try to overthrow the Egyptians. They said that they weren’t and kinda confessed of who they were. They were the nine brothers of one father. One brother was gone and another brother, 10 brothers of a father. One brother was dead and that was, they were speaking of Joseph ’cause in their mind he was probably died and then the youngest brother was at home and then they were gonna be imprisoned because Joseph wouldn’t listen to them. He imprisoned them for three days and you almost have to wonder if he put ’em in the jail just to give ’em a time out, like we do our children that have been disobedient to a parent’s words. We put ’em in a time out to let them think about what they have done and maybe to think that God might be ready to punish them for the sins they had committed so many years ago.
Then came the test of surety. Joseph decided that he was gonna let all the brothers go, nine of them go, but he was gonna keep one of ’em back and keep them in prison just so they would have reason to come back. But, he warned the other brothers. He said, you will not see my face again unless when you come back to Egypt your youngest brother is with you. Of course, Joseph at this time was not certain that what the brothers had done something to Benjamin just like they had done to him. He didn’t even really know if Benjamin was still alive, if they were telling the truth and he was back home with the father. And so, they began talking among themselves in their own Hebrew native tongue and they began to say to one another, surely God is paying us back for the evil that we had done to our brother, Joseph. And Joseph was standin’ there and those brothers didn’t even realize that he was understanding every word that they spoke. And really, he was probably almost happy to see that they really thought that God might be punishing them for their sins.
So, Joseph had chose Simeon and that was the second born son to Jacob and held Simeon back in prison and sent the other nine on their way. Of course, he gave them their sacks of grain that they come to buy and purchase and he was gonna give ’em a test to find out if they were really honest and he put their money back in their sacks and when they returned home these nine brothers had to explain all the things that were going on that happened about the sacks of grain and the money that was returned in them and they even tried to explain to their father, Jacob, at that time that this governor told them that they could not come back and see his face again to buy more grain unless their younger brother, Benjamin, was with them. And Jacob in his despair, cried out, Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more and now you would take Benjamin from me? All this has come against me. And that is very valid from a human perspective, but from God’s point of view it was quite the opposite. Actually, God was working everything out for Jacob’s good and not for his harm and not only Jacob, but for the whole family and not even for the family but for the nation that would rise from this Israel and not just Israel, but for the whole world. And this kinda reminds me of that story that I read years ago about a sole survivor of a shipwreck and he washed up onto a shore of an inhabited, uninhabited island and after praying for days asking God to rescue him, he finally gave up and he took some of the driftwood that he found there on the shore and he built a little shelter only to find out a few days later that that shelter had caught fire and had burned to the ground and he could not believe that God would let all this happen to him. The next morning as he was awakened by the sound of a noise he realized that there was a ship out in the sea that had come to rescue him and he asked them after all this time he wondered how they knew that he was there and how they found him. And the sailors told him, we saw your smoke signal. See, it’s so easy to get discouraged when things aren’t going the way that we think they should and it’s easy for us in those times that we lose heart, but it’s during those difficult times of life we have to realize that God is still at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. So, the next time the little hut of your life is maybe what you consider being burned to the ground. Just remember, it may be a smoke signal to usher in God’s grace into your life just like it did for Jacob. When the grain ran out Jacob had forgot what his sons told him, he told the nine sons, go back now and buy more grain and see if Simeon’s still alive and Judah reminded his father, Jacob, that they couldn’t go back, that the man had told them that younger brother,
Benjamin, had to be with them and Judah offered himself as a pledge saying that if anything happens to Benjamin’s life you can take my life from me instead. I will lay down my life for him. Judah offered himself as that pledge assuring that Benjamin’s safety in the journey and that revealed a very changed heart of what Judah had gone through from the time that he was one of the brothers that conspired to sell Joseph. They were gonna kill him, but then they decided to sell him as a slave to those passing by going on to Egypt. So, this really shows a change of heart that’s taken place in Judah’s life. And along with twice the money that they had taken the first time, Jacob also gave ’em a lotta gifts to take back, tried to insure that they would have the favor of the Egyptian ruler. After blessing them Jacob sent all of his sons, the 10 remaining sons, on back to Egypt to buy more grain, but his final words didn’t show very much hope or faith ’cause his words were, if I’m bereaved of my children I am bereaved. It’s almost like he’d given up hope and one might expect that those brothers on that road going back to where Joseph was, where Simeon was in prison, they might have kept hearing those words echoing in their mind over and over again and how grieved their father was.
As the brothers were returning to Egypt they faced three major problems upon their return. First of all, the money. They had to be able to explain to somebody why they were bringing so much money with them and how they had discovered that the money by accident, had been put in their bag. So, they went to the steward of Jacob, of Joseph’s house and began immediately to explain what had happened, but the steward stopped them and said, he told ’em he knew all about it and he had received their money, that what they had in their bag must have been a gift from their God because everything was paid for on the first trip. Now, we don’t really know why it was. Maybe Joseph paid for it and gave them their money back. We just don’t know, but that’s what happened. The second problem they faced was Simeon’s release. They didn’t know but the months they’d been gone that maybe something happened, Simeon had died, maybe been executed. They didn’t know and how relieved they had to be when Simeon was brought out of prison and they discovered that their other brother was safe and sound. But then, the third problem they faced on this journey was Benjamin’s protection.
You see, the last thing these brothers expected was to be invited to dine in the house of the governor, the second in command of Egypt who has spoken so harshly to ’em the first time and even put ’em in prison. And in this visit they get to go into Joseph’s home and they get to have a feast with him and then we see this as they go into the home and Joseph arrives that these brothers bow down to Joseph twice, not just once. That had taken many years and so, through so many tears, but God’s dreams really did come through and come true for Joseph. And when Joseph saw his younger brother, Benjamin, alive and well, he broke down and he had to leave the room to be able to compose himself to continue on. And as they did, the brothers were still in for some more surprises. As they sat down for the feast that had been prepared for them, there were seating assignments and they were arranged in birth order from the very oldest to the very youngest, Benjamin. There is no way in the world an Egyptian would have known that and the odds of just being able for that to happen by chance were just astronomical. So, they had a surprise when they saw this birth order and they looked at each other wondering how this had happened. And then as they began to bring the food out and as they had the gifts that were given to ’em from this Egyptian ruler, Benjamin received five times more than the other brothers. Now they didn’t have to be worried about Benjamin’s protection because it seemed like this Egyptian ruler had taken a liking to young Benjamin and so they ate and drank themselves silly, as though they had not a care in the world. But, they still needed Joseph’s forgiveness for what they had done to him and they also owed an apology to their own father because of all the grief and suffering and deceiving that they had put him in. You see, when we get a false sense of joy and peace, it can be a perilous thing in our life ’cause we may begin to think that when things are letting up on us or suppressions of the world are easing up, that everything may be right, not only with the world, but also with God.
And what the Brothers were experiencing with this false sense of security was that the hammer was about to fall because in chapter 44 and 45 of Joseph, one more facet of this wise plan to bring his brothers to repentance and Benjamin was gonna be the target that Joseph would use. This time Joseph would have his servants fill his brothers bags with grains and put the money back in their bag just like they did the time before, but this time they would take the silver cup that was a part of Joseph’s home and they would put it into the sack of Benjamin, his younger brother. Not long after the brothers had left Joseph sent some stewards and some others out and they were to confront and accuse the brothers of stealing from them. They had to argue, how would we be stealing from you if we brought the money back from the first trip. There’s no way that we have stolen from you. These brothers were so confident that they were innocent of the accusation that they suggested if you did find that cup in one of the sacks of us of the brothers, that person ought to be executed. Of course, the steward knew that that cup was gonna be in Benjamin’s bag and so he negotiated that down and said no, we’re not gonna kill him, but whoever has that cup will remain a prisoner of my master for life. Now Judah, who had pledged his life himself as surety for Benjamin’s safety, he stepped up and he suggested that he be a substitute because they did find that silver cup in Benjamin’s bag. He literally was requesting to take the punishment of Benjamin upon himself so the younger brother could return home to his father and his father wouldn’t be bereaved of his beloved son being dead. It was almost like Judah was begging this servant to become a slave himself become a slave of Joseph. And Judah, in this instance, pictures Jesus Christ as our surety for all who will trust in him.
You see, because he assumed the responsibility for us, that is Jesus Christ. So, he makes sure that we as sinners, can go home to the Father in heaven. Judah was willing to take Benjamin’s place, be separated from his own Father, but see, Jesus actually took our place. He didn’t just offer. He actually took our place and he died on the cross for our sins and at this point in the story when the brothers came back and Joseph saw all that was going on he finally broke down and he had to reveal himself to his brothers and what a shock they had when they realized that this brother that they thought had been gone for over 13 plus years was still alive and that he was the second in command in Egypt.
Again, it’s a beautiful picture of our Lord, Jesus Christ and what he did for us by dying on the cross and also, his resurrection because just like Jesus, Joseph went from suffering to glory and from the prison to the palace and he was able to share his wealth and his victory and his glory with others. Notice too also this. The first time the brothers encounter Joseph they did not recognize him. This too is a lot like Israel because the Bible tells us that when Jesus as the Messiah came the first time he came to his own and those were his own, did not receive him. But, the next time that he comes Israel will recognize him as the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings and they will bow down and, not only they bow the knee, but their tongues will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
And after the reconciliation, Jacob, whose name has now been changed from Jacob to Israel by God, he took the rest of his family and they moved to Egypt. Pharaoh met with Jacob and he got Jacob and his sons the very best of the land because they were Joseph’s family and when the famine was over Joseph had literally saved the nation, not only the nation of Israel, but also, not only the nation of Egypt, but also the nation of Israel, from starvation as well as setting up an economic system that enabled Pharaoh to control everything, all the people, all the wealth and all of the livestock and the grain. It was during this time what were the people of Israel doing? They were multiplying and they were becoming that great nation, the promise that God had made to Abraham years before.
There’s a story I wanna conclude with today. It’s called I Can’t Play. Wishing to encourage her young son as he was beginning to learn how to play the piano, the mother took her son to a Paderewski concert and after they were seated the mother spotted a friend a few rows away in the audience and she walked down the isle to greet her friend and to talk. And seizing the opportunity this little boy, after all this wonders that were around him in the concert hall, he used this time to explore and he made his way through a door that said, no admittance. And, when the house lights dimmed signaling that the concert was about to begin the mother returned to her seat only to discover that her son was missing and all of a sudden the curtains lifted and the lights came on on the stage and in her horror the mother saw her little boy sitting up at the priceless Steinway that was on the floor of the stage of this beautiful concert hall and there he was sitting at the Steinway playing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Well, at that moment the great piano master made his entrance and he soon discovered what was going on and he made his way over up behind the boy real softly and he whispered into the little boy’s ear, keep playing and with his left hand Paderewski began to add a bass part on the piano and soon his right arm reached around the boy on the other side and began running an abogado and together the old master and the little novice transformed what was a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience and the audience was mesmerized. And that’s the way it is with God. What we can accomplish of ourselves and on our own is far less than noteworthy to say the least. We may try our best, but the results aren’t exactly glowing or flowing with music, but with the hand of the master our life’s work can become beautiful. The next time that you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully, because you might just well hear the voice of the master whispering into your ear, keep playing. You may feel his loving arms swallow you up around you. Know that his strong hands are there to help you even in the feeble attempts of trying to produce a true masterpiece. And remember, God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called and he’s always there to love you and to guide you no matter what’s going on in your life. He’s guiding you on to great and better things.
And remember this, the worst days are never so bad that you’re beyond the reach of God’s grace. On the other hand, the very best days are never so good that you’re beyond the need of God’s grace. Joseph is a wonderful Biblical character and he does, in many ways, foreshadow who our Lord is and I hope and pray that just going over parts of Joseph’s life will inspire you. I hope you’ll even pick up your Bible and begin to read from Genesis, Chapter 37 where he becomes the main character for the rest of the book of Genesis and read all the way to the end. And again, just look over and see how much Joseph life parallels that of Jesus and allow yourself to be thankful that Jesus was there for you just like Joseph was there for his brothers. I wanna thank you for tuning in for this podcast.
We’re gonna have one more now to conclude our study on Genesis and that’ll be coming up in just a few short weeks so be watching for that. If you have any questions or comments that you’d like to send on to me, some have done that, please just email me at mike@rizen and remember rizen is spelled R-I-Z-E-N.church and I’ll be sure to get them and read them and respond to you accordingly. Thank you. May God bless you and have a great day.