When You Made Joseph Dead To You, But He’s Very Much Alive And Kicking
Genesis 45:13 – And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither.
Hello readers, back with a new blog today. This is quite a big blog, much bigger than I expected, hopefully a blessing to you! Today is a blog I’m pretty excited about, it’s about Joseph, what a character in the Bible. I would advise reading about Joseph, he’s found in Genesis 37 to 50. It’s quite the story. Joseph is one of those characters in the Bible where you kinda think, I could never be a Joseph, despite my name being Joseph funnily enough. The kind of man he was considering what he unjustly went through, it’s the kind of person this world needs to learn from. Think of all the problems with resentment and bitterness and people wanting to be victims… think of the recent year of riots, unrest, racism and the never ending victim and bitterness stories… well this guy did nothing wrong and got sold as a slave by his own brothers. He did right, and got treated very cruelly in return.
If anyone could be a victim and live full of bitterness and resentment, it was him. But that wouldn’t have helped him wouldn’t it. The way back wasn’t bitterness, but the way back was God was with him, and God turned it for good. No matter what you’ve been through, even things that may not be your fault, the way back is through the Lord God. That’s where redemption and reconciliation and restoration lay in, all of which occurred in Joseph’s life. If you think that’s any easy thing what happened to Joseph, well when stuff is going down in Egypt and his brothers consciences are being awakened through a series of events they say this in Genesis 42:21 – “And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.” They saw the anguish of his soul and were unmoved… you think Joseph was down in that pit saying thanks guys, appreciate it, it’ll all be fine. He was pleading for his life.
For all intents and purposes Joseph was a dead man from that point on. He was dead to his brothers. And today really is the theme of you may have Jesus Christ and his word dead to you… but Jesus Christ and his word is very much alive and full of power and glory and triumphing in the end. Joseph’s brothers tried eliminating him, killing him from their lives. Putting him out of sight and mind for years. The only reason they didn’t actually kill him was because they thought an even better way to rid themselves of him was to also make money doing it. You think that these are nice godly guys? It’s pretty rough stuff.
We are coming up to Easter, and despite its pagan roots and everything, you can still make that time about the death and resurrection of Christ. And in Joseph’s story we see a most beautiful illustration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Because his life is a type of resurrection in that they think they’ve gotten rid of him, he’s dead to them, and he makes a comeback greater and more glorious than they had ever thought possible. They didn’t realize the little brother down in the pit would come to the great power and glory that he had. They didn’t realize he was the key to their own salvation. Their own salvation was in the pit, their own hope they sold out that day. And how badly people oppose their own salvation! Jesus Christ is for your salvation, but people treat him like the brothers treated Joseph. 2 Timothy 2:25 – “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;” If you’re anti God’s word, anti truth, you’re opposing your own self. The worst enemy of yourself is yourself. Stop blaming others. See, they made Joseph the bad guy, they made him pay, but the problem was they had problems with lust, pride, bitterness, envy.
They didn’t think that little brother was the Joseph who would be the governor of Egypt. And when Jesus came, though some got a snapshot into his great power and glory, many did not know who he truly was. The first time Christ came, he came as a suffering servant, humble, meek, lowly… but he will return and be revealed the second time as the King of kings and Lord of lords that he truly is. Joseph’s life is like that isn’t it? He’s this boy, and really all he did was tell the truth and he suffered for it. Think about why this happened to Joseph. He was guiltless and yet he ends in a pit, as a slave, then in a dungeon. Even in Egypt he suffers for doing right by Potiphar his master. He looks dead and buried to his brothers, they try burying him in the past, they don’t talk about him, he’s gone, he’s for all intents and purposes dead to them.
So often in life today it looks like God is dead, his word isn’t happening, none of it is true and all hope is lost. Ask Jacob. He lost all hope and all faith in the matter of Joseph. Losing his son basically killed him. His spirits dying out. And maybe you need a spiritual revival, that revival is going to start with the arrival of news that Joseph is alive as it did for Jacob. The gospel is what is going to breathe life into your flagging declining spirit. Joseph was not dead, and the next time they see him, he’s not this helpless lad in tears pleading with his brothers… he’s the lord of Egypt, with great power and glory and authority. That’s who and what Christ will be revealed as when he is revealed from heaven the second time. That’s the Lord that’s returning. See, there’s so much idolatry today, so many false Christs, people do not know the true Christ. He’s not who you think he is. He’s going to be the one who welcomes you to heaven or sends you to hell. That’s quite a position to occupy as Judge of all the earth.
Everything happened to Joseph that happened to Joseph not because he did wrong, but because he did right. He had an excellent spirit, an excellent attitude, and the Lord was with him. Yet all sorts of bad is happening in his life. We live in a kind of Christianity today that doesn’t know this kind of Christianity. From the outside he didn’t look like he was prospering or God was blessing him or that he was even right with God. All this bad happening to him. He’s even tagged with a false rape charge. He has to bear the lies of someone else on himself. Kinda reminds me of Christ, he bore our sin in his own body. Jesus didn’t die for his own lies, he died for our lies. Joseph suffered for someone else’s lies. Jesus suffered the shame and death that we deserve, and took it himself. He’s hanging on the cross like some criminal, but he’s not. He’s enduring the shame of a criminal and wrong doer and beneath people’s contempt, but he’s the only sinless person to have ever walked the planet. That’s pretty significant. Joseph copped what he did not because he did wrong and reaped what he sowed or got what he deserved… he copped what he did because he did right. What a reward for doing right! Most Christians wouldn’t be impressed with this kind of a reward for following Christ. They’re not in Christianity for the rejection and scorn and lying on that’s coming their way. They’re not going to take up their cross and follow him. They want a Christianity without a cross.
I had been thinking about “taking up your cross”. What does that mean? It’s easy to say that, but never really understand what that is and represents. If I’m saved, his cross becomes my cross. If I want to follow Christ there’s a cross I also have to take up like he did. I can’t follow him and yet avoid bearing my cross like he did. Jesus lived with the cross in sight, with the cross on his mind, with the cross central to his being here. What was at the cross? Suffering for righteousness sake, getting shamed, unjustly treated and spoken about and tried and judged by others. That’s tough, that’s not like Christianity today.
What about death? At the cross, Jesus died. You can’t follow Christ and not die to yourself, die to your flesh, die to what YOU want to do and YOUR idea of what needs to happen. The cross is a place of God’s will, not your will. Even Jesus prayed, if it’s possible take this cup away… nevertheless not my will but thy will be done. I thought about that little nobody, Simon of Cyrene, he’s just passing by and soldiers take him and compel him to take up Christ’s cross. This world will compel you to bear Christ’s cross if you want to follow him, you can’t follow Jesus and be greater than him and manage to get everyone to like you and receive you. There’s a cost to following Christ, and Joseph’s wrongful treatment for doing right shows what will be involved in obeying God and walking honestly and uprightly in a wicked and crooked world. There’s a cross involved, there’s a cross that comes with the territory of following the Lord and Saviour.
Nevertheless, there is a positive to this. If you look at what happened, and as Jesus said in John 12:24 – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” This is a big positive. In bearing the cross, you also can make a real difference in other people’s lives, and great waves in eternity. A crossless Christianity has no power, and will never experience resurrection power. No death, no resurrection. Through Christ’s death, he became the author of salvation to all who believe. What a plus!? Hebrews 5:9 – “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” You know, when you die to yourself, is when you find your life. It’s so paradoxic to our thinking, we don’t want to die to self, we don’t want to take no cross up… because we think we’re losing. But we are eternally winning. You think Joseph eternally won? In the moment and for many years he was the loser. He lost out again and again and again. But one day he was the man who could be his father and brother’s salvation. It was through the cross that Jesus saved us, and it was through death that he defeated death and hell and Satan forevermore. It is finished. That’s pretty big.
So then in Egypt, there’s a terrible famine, people don’t have food, no sustenance, and he’s the only one with the corn. He’s the one prepared and able to save and be blessing to the known world at that time. They came seeking corn, and Jesus spoke of a corn of wheat. Nothing is in the Bible the way it is by accident. That little corn of wheat died that day when Joseph was sold into slavery, but think of the fruit God bore in Joseph’s life. Indeed, one of his son’s name means “fruitfulness in the land of my affliction”. We need to bear an Ephraim and Manasseh in our lives if we are to be a Joseph. So many years before the cross, but Joseph took up his cross. If you die with Christ, you’ll live with him. Christ rose from the dead. And you can rise from the dead with him in your spiritual and practical life, and ultimately at the revelation of Jesus Christ. There’s a practical element to taking up your cross daily, think Joseph had to each day as a slave, each day in the dungeon? You’re useless if you can’t take up your cross, gird up the loins of your mind, and get on with it.
So everything bad that happened to Joseph happened because he did that which was right. What happened to Job happened because he was upright and feared God and eschewed evil. His friends sure had it back the front. You can expect to do right and cop it for doing right. If you’re doing right looking for an immediate payday, you’ll be knocked out of the game pretty quickly. Jesus suffered not because he did wrong, but because he always spoke right and did right… perfectly. Joseph’s life pictures Christ in suffering for the truth’s sake, not suffering for doing wrong, but suffering at the hands of people who were full of lies, hatred, deceit, bitterness, envy, murder.
There’s quite a number of things I want to bring out of Joseph’s life today, but the verse that started me thinking was this. The situation is that Joseph has revealed himself to his brothers, and he tells them this. Genesis 45:13 – “And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that ye have seen; and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither.” This is a very precious chapter in the Bible, a chapter of repentance, truth, forgiveness, grace, reconciliation. Go and tell my father of all my glory in Egypt. And make haste boys! Go and tell dad I’m alive, tell him who and what I am in Egypt, and hurry up!
As said before in other blogs, it’s easy to read over this or any or all of the Bible. But just remember who and what we are dealing with. Jacob, their dad, he’s been living believing lies all these years. THEIR lies. And he’s been living a broken, wrecked, defeated man. He’s fading away, but there’s good news coming his way. Joseph’s alive! You know, the gospel is good news, and it’s coming to you. If you’re saved, you’ve received good news, and you’ve got good news. God’s word is the truth. Jesus is alive, he’s got great power and glory, and Jesus saves! That’ll lift the broken, flagging, dying spirit! And the Bible says when Jacob heard that his son was alive… his spirit revived. Because Joseph lived, he lived. Bit like us, because he lives, we live.
But I was thinking… for so long it looks like God’s word isn’t true, or this isn’t real , or things really aren’t as God said they are. For so long the truth looks like Joseph rotting as a slave in Egypt, down in a dungeon, dead and buried. The truth looks forgotten, the truth looks gone, the truth looks irrelevant, the truth looks hopeless and helpless and forsaken. For so long it looks like the enemy has won, the lies have won, for so long it seems like the wicked triumph, they get by with their rejection of truth. For so long it looks like all those warnings in the Bible are for naught. After all, in 2 Peter 3, they say where is the promise of his coming? Hey, you’ve been saying Jesus is coming back for years and years. It ain’t happened. And that, amongst other things of course is the primary thing I’ve seen and hoping to convey in this blog. For so long people think they’ve rid themselves of God, of God’s word, of God’s authority, of God’s truth, they live like he and his word “is not”. We are a lot more like Joseph’s brothers than we think.
The thing is, Joseph is alive and kicking, and not just that, but he’s the governor of Egypt, he’s the one in complete control. And he’s provided for everyone. What a picture this is of Jesus Christ. He’s got the corn, the full barns, he’s the one prepared against the future because he knows it. If you want to future proof your life, go and see the one who knows it and has made provisions for you for it. What got them to go to Egypt was they wanted corn, they’re after life giving food, they’re after salvation, they’re in a terrible famine remember. They’re wanting and needing something that only Joseph has to give. But getting that corn involves a confrontation with Joseph who they’re not even going to recognize initially. People of this world don’t know who they’re dealing with when they’re dealing with God. They don’t know who they’re messing with when they hate Jesus Christ and reject him. And you’re not gonna get through life without confronting Joseph, if you want the corn of truth and life, you gotta go through him. It’s his to give, and you’re only getting given it on the basis of confession of the truth and repentance of sin. When Judah volunteered himself as a slave in Benjamin’s stead, that verified his repentance. That’s a changed man. Only God’s word and the Holy Spirit can make that kind of change in a man or woman. Our faith must be based on God’s word, anything less is not the real thing.
Back when the brothers decided to sell Joseph, they said “we shall see what will become of his dreams”. I got to thinking about this and God’s word. People have often had this attitude to the Holy Bible. We’ll see what becomes of what it says. God’ word doesn’t occupy a very high and esteemed position in their minds. Oh no. It’s as low as Joseph in that pit. Oh yeah, people reject God’s word as fully and maliciously as the brothers rejected Joseph. And for many years it appears there was nothing to God’s word. There’s nothing to Joseph’s dreams, it’s all a load of garbage. There’s nothing to God’s word, it’s fairytales, it’s the archaic irrelevant ramblings of superstitious idiots, it’s got no control or say or authority to dictate to my life and judge me. We won’t be doing any bowing to Joseph and his authority! I’m not going to be under or demanded of by God’s word! God did say to Job, I will demand of thee and answer thou me. God’s word does make demands of us, that’s why people hate it, because it carries convicting, reproving, rebuking but also saving and life giving power.
So Joseph is off the scene, he’s dead and buried to them, and it looks like there was nothing to the dreams God gave him, it looks like there’s nothing to God’s word and they’ve freed themselves of it and him. There is a world out there living like this. Even Christians are a callous and indifferent and conscience-less to God’s word. It’s not they don’t know God’s word, for Joseph’s father and brothers surely knew his dreams… but they have rejected him for it. They hated the thought of bowing to Joseph, they surely hated the truth and this world hates the idea of acknowledging the authority and truth of Christ. They hate his word, they hate him for his word.
They thought they got rid of Joseph. And maybe you think you got away from truth and buried the Bible, God, your conscience… everything. In Psalm 2:3 – “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” This world and its citizens want to free themselves from “God”. And you think you’ve solved the Bible just like they thought they’d solved Joseph. You call it lies, a joke, a fairytale, and you’ve left God’s word down in the pit and sold it out. Dead, buried, forgotten, done. Out your life. Not relevant, not even figuring in your thinking really apart from the oddest pang of guilt here and there. Oh and we all did it, they had their comparative morality and safety in “everyone’s doing it”. That’s what people are like as they comfort each other in their sin and rejection of truth.
And you know what, they rathered to live in lies than face the truth. People want to live with truth dead and buried and sold out on in the pit. They want no part or lot in Christ. They want no part of God’s word. They’re done with it, done with him, and want to be free of it and him. Hey see what happens with God’s word now they scoff and scorn. Maybe you’ve lived a life where you know the truth, you’ve heard the gospel, just like they heard his dreams, but for many years it’s been dead and buried to you. Your conscience doesn’t even bother you anymore. You’ve silenced that too. The Bible doesn’t seem real or true or possible. It’s a distant fading memory in your rearview mirror. You think you solved God’s word. You think you’ve got God dead and buried and irrelevant and you’re getting on with life.
But there’s a verse in the Bible… Matthew 21:42 – “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?” What a verse. If Joseph’s life pictures any truth of Jesus Christ, it’s this one. You have this truth Jesus Christ said and referred to from the Old Testament pictured in the very life of Joseph. He was rejected, but he became the head of Egypt. So you may reject Christ, you reject his word… you reject all of it. Just like the brothers rejected Joseph. Just like they made him suffer not because Joseph was evil, but because they were. You’ve set the stone at naught, you’ve rejected Jesus Christ and his word. But that’s not the end of the story. Just because you choose to lie and believe your lies doesn’t make the truth any less the truth. The stone the builders rejected, the same is the head of the corner.
We know why the stone was rejected in this story. If you read back in Genesis 37, Joseph had exposed what they were doing, because he went back and told their father Jacob what the brothers were up to… and it wasn’t a good report. Man that got them mad at him. Can’t you just go along with our sin Joseph? Oh you’re so self righteous and better than us aren’t you Joseph. As a Christian, be sure you’ll get treated that way, you’ll do what’s right and you’ll be the bad one, the judgmental one, the self righteous one… for doing what’s right. That combined with the fact Jacob favored Joseph, and the dreams that he dreamed… it all combined for them to hate him. And a parent favoring a son isn’t the best formula, but it does picture God’s favoritism to his son, which is quite right. This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. People don’t mind Jesus if he is “a” way, but when he is THE way (which he is), then people have a problem with God.
So they rejected Joseph, and so they reject Jesus Christ. But the stone that the builders rejected, and you can try building your life without Jesus Christ, but that stone is become the head of the corner. You have no foundation, no corner stone, if you don’t have Jesus Christ. You have nothing solid and abiding and sure to build your life on. That rejected stone became the head of the corner. Their little brother became the governor of Egypt. Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. You’ll have to reckon with him one day, and you can put it off for years, just like the brothers did, but one day you’ll come to him on bowed knee. Because he is the head of the corner.
They tried to shut Joseph up. That’s this world. Trying to eliminate God’s word from every sphere of life, from public consciousness, from thinking. When the brothers came to see Joseph, not knowing he was Joseph… and you don’t know Christ quite like you think you do. So many Christians have the audacity to say they know God, they think they’ve got him figured out… hey you don’t know him at all. There’s no respect, reverence or fear… because they don’t know who they’re dealing with. No, he’s not your pal. Joseph recognized them, he knew who they were, Jesus knows every bit of who and what you are be sure of that… but they didn’t know who he was.. at all. No clue. But they come to see him, and all they say about their other brother (who is Joseph), is that he’s an “is not”. Genesis 42:13 – “And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.”
Well that’s nice, one of our brothers “is not”. Maybe you’ve lived a life with the Bible “is not”. It is not your authority, it is not your standard, it “is not” in your life. But the thing is Joseph “is”. They’re calling him an is not, but he IS standing right in front of them, understanding them perfectly and knowing who they are perfectly. Boom. Just think, while you live like God’s word “is not”, it “IS” all along. Jesus IS all along. God’s word is the truth, like it or lump it. And you will bow before Jesus Christ, just like they bowed to Joseph. They thought they wouldn’t, they sold him out so they wouldn’t, they wanted to kill him so they wouldn’t… but here they come on their hands and knees to Joseph. So God’s word was true all along. Not just true, but glorious and highly exalted, just as Christ is highly exalted with a name that is above every name.
Jacob only realizes this truth when the brothers come back with a wagon, he’s lived a good number of years believing lies over the word of God. Despite all the brothers said and did, despite their lies and best efforts… God’s word prevailed. Had they prevailed, they wouldn’t have been saved, they’d have starved in the famine. See, that’s the terrible irony of it all, they didn’t realize Joseph would be the one to provide them with the corn, they were literally depending on God’s word being right to be saved and taken care of. That’s the irony, people are so against God’s word, but God’s word is the thing that’ll save them, it holds their thread of redemption just like the scarlet thread fluttering outside Rahab’s window in Jericho. It’s their only hope in life, yet that’s the thing they’re most against, all because they love the sin and are so mad at the truth. How deep will the darkness take you?
Joseph had told them, THIS is how you come to see me. Genesis 43:3 – “…Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.” Bring Benjamin, or you’re not seeing me. That’s pretty particular huh. That’s a pretty specific way to approach him and be accepted in his sight. Kinda sounds like how God works come to think of it. God has designated a specific way that he is to be approached. It’s not you come however you want to… it’s you come to him, HIS way, or you’re not seeing Joseph and no corn either. Jesus said.. I AM the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me. If you don’t’ come to God his way, you will never EVER be accepted. Cain wanted God to accept his own sacrifice and his own way, and God did not. God doesn’t come to your side, and your way of thinking, you come to his. That’s the problem (amongst MANY) of changing God’s word, you’re changing God to suit you, to bring him down to your level of understanding, and you take your little graving tool and fashion out your own God who suits your sinful imagination. It’s God’s way or the highway. God’s way is the narrow way through the strait gate… you refuse that, take the highway, the broad road, that many are on, who’s destination is destruction.
It’s funny how they come to Joseph with their money and their story and their sweet talking and their balm and spice… and Joseph’s not interested in it. That’s not going to make things right on their terms. They’re not going to buy him off. They’re not going to smooth things over. They’re not going to make it all ok without making it okay. So many people want to be Christians and on side with God… on their terms… without repentance or truth or confession. They want to be right without getting right. Let’s sidestep that stuff. Let’s sidestep something inconvenient, exposing and confronting. You think you can trade and negotiate past your sin to be right with Christ. But you can’t sweet talk God. You can’t bargain and negotiate with him. Bring the best you’ve got, doesn’t matter. Repentance is the way to salvation. Obey him, or you’re not seeing him, you’re not serving him, you’re not pleasing him. It’s not you can’t come, for all are invited, but you have to come to God, you have to be saved and serve him his way according to HIS word. Joseph’s word carried a lot of authority in Egypt, you didn’t just flip what he said off, his word mattered. God’s word matters. You think you’ve assigned God’s word to the trash can and you’re the authority… you’re not.
So back to the “is not”, people live a life with Joseph dealt with, so they think. Oh yeah, they’ve solved the Bible alright. They know more than God. They’ve got life worked out. They’ve determined the Bible and the truths therein is not relevant to them or their interests. He’s an “is not” to you. Is God’s word “is not” to you? Because even while you live and think like that… it is, and he IS. It’s funny how they said “is not” as well because it’s just like people today when they think and talk about death. They never call things for what they are. They never call their sin for what it is, nor death for what it is. They like to conveniently tuck things away, they prefer comfortable lies than inconvenient truths, they don’t want to face facts and realities of life, so they don’t have to confront or think about them.
“Is not” is pretty neat way of saying oh we betrayed our own brother, we hated him, lied on him, wanted to murder him but settled for selling him into a life of abject slavery and we’ve lived lying to our dad ever since. Yeah, “is not” is much easier. That packages the story a whole lot better. That way there’s nothing inconvenient or uncomfortable to us. As they’re explaining themselves to Joseph they think that’s just a small detail. Turns out it’s the biggest detail of all. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. Even with death today, it’s much easier saying “is not” than confronting the nasty truth of death. Death is horrible, it’s a reality, it’s nasty, and pretending death isn’t waiting for you is stupid. You can live in your pretend world. These brothers were in a pretend life for years and years. They were pretend people, because they’re claiming to be “true men”, but they’re anything but. They’re pretenders, they are living like Joseph is dead and is not… when he’s the governor of Egypt, second only in the kingdom to Pharaoh himself.
The thing is, the brothers could only get corn through Joseph. He was the sole distributor of the corn. The sole outlet of life and truth is the Lord Jesus Christ. You don’t get the corn without going through him. Here’s another phenomenal truth in the Bible. No Joseph, no corn. No Jesus, no life. Life comes from Christ. You want the corn of truth, life, light? And you want to get it, but not through Joseph. Well you’re not getting it. You want to live a Christian life without God’s word? Ain’t happening pal. The corn was in Joseph’s barns. It was he who opened the storehouses. God’s got big storehouses to open to you, but will you come? There are no shortcuts and circumventing things that need to happen. They came wanting corn, but didn’t realize what that entailed. People don’t mind the ideas or values of Christianity so much, but they don’t really want salvation from sin. They want corn on their terms, not Joseph’s terms.
Joseph’s terms were different to theirs rest assured. They bring their money and gifts… and Joseph doesn’t need them. It’s not he doesn’t want to show them mercy and grace and be right with them, oh no, but that grace and mercy can only be received with a repentant heart that is capable of acknowledging the truth and forsaking the lies and self righteous sham. They didn’t know who he was until Judah’s confession. You’ll never know Christ but for godly repentance and acknowledging of the truth. Joseph lead them to repentance, it was how he handled them that took them there. God will take you to a place of repentance. That’s more than they had come for! They came just wanting the corn and no dramas. They wanted it to be a smooth trip to Egypt and return with the goods. No hitches, no snags.
But they meet Joseph and he’s speaking roughly to them. Rough talk is the kind of talk that will get you saved. Rough preaching, but nobody like the rough preacher of truth anymore. And their quite little organized trip into Egypt turned into a cross examination of their character… and they came up far shorter than they were claiming to be. They claimed they were true men… yeah right. We tend to have a flattering view of ourselves. We don’t know ourselves, but God knows who we are. Joseph knew perfectly what kind of men these were. Liars, murderers, full of envy and hatred… yeah not true men. They’re watching their dad decline in health and hope because fixing the situation requires them telling the truth which makes them look bad. See you can’t help someone, you can’t care for someone if you’re not abiding in the truth. That’s what Paul was telling his son in the faith Timothy. Don’t be a castaway Timothy, don’t be put out to pasture, don’t be shipwrecked, don’t be led away, don’t lose the plot.
They needed to go through Joseph to get the corn. Food, sustenance, truth, life, salvation… it’s through Joseph. It’s though Jesus. But there’s a problem. They’ve wronged him. Despised him. Lied about him. Hated him. Yeah… not good. That’s us, hell deserving sinners. Guilty. Ever realized Joseph was far more gracious to them than they deserved? That’s God to us. Longsuffering, full of grace and mercy. Joseph could’ve had them killed, he could’ve done anything he wanted to them to make them pay. Speaking roughly to them and not accepting the fake relationship that he could’ve settled for wasn’t him being nasty and vindictive… it was the kindest thing he ever did for them. Telling people the truth and being in a right relationship with others and most of all, Jesus Christ, is far better than things being pretend ok. Because they weren’t ok, they were living in sin, living in lies, living without addressing and owning what they’d done. Just because it was years back didn’t make it ok. Time may pass, but that doesn’t solve the evil you’ve done… Ahab went softly after he was outed for the Naboth incident… but it still didn’t make him right with God.
The only way you can make it right is finding a place of repentance. If your sins aren’t washed in the blood of Christ, paid for, forgiven, cleansed… things aren’t right. Judah had learnt a few things in Joseph’s absence, he’d seen he wasn’t as good as the thought he was, he’d seen a daughter in law who had more moral integrity than him. And where he had wanted Joseph dead, he was now willing to trade his life for Benjamin, the other brother who also was favored. That’s a different kind of man now. See he didn’t just say an empty I’m sorry. His plea to Joseph wasn’t the profession of repentance, it was the fruit meet for repentance. So many people, there’s no difference in their lives between before salvation and after. There’s no repentance. There’s no turning point, and there’s no new birth. Judah was a new person from that old Judah… and that’s why Jesus Christ came from the line of Judah.
So Joseph revealed himself to his brothers after Judah’s confession. And Joseph said… go and tell my dad about me. That’s quite a task isn’t it? They were the ones who made up the whole bloody coat story and led their father to despair of life. But it was surely good news. Joseph’s alive! That news had the power to transform Jacob’s life. Our lives carry great power in sharing the gospel, even moreso because it comes with a dropping of our own lies and false pretences that have been in our own lives. Owning your own sin and getting them right is a powerful testimony in this world. One can imagine there was quite a bit of power in the brothers owning what they had done and been. Honesty has quite a witness towards others. Honesty, confession, acknowledgment of truth even at expense to one’s own person. And here is Jacob, their dad, who’s been living in mourning, regret, sadness, eaten up with all of it… and they’re responsible. Our sin impacts other people. And we can’t love people till we tell them the truth. Their lies had nothing but hurt their father. And Joseph sends them back, Go and tell my dad. How does that conversation start? Oh dad, Joseph’s alive as it turns out. But what news it was.
Genesis 45:27 – “And they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said unto them: and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived:” I mean, this in and of itself carries many great truths. They told him all the words of Joseph. They didn’t change the story, they didn’t alter Joseph’s word. They faithfully relayed the message. That’s what a faithful Christian isn’t meant to do, faithfully the relay the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Not change it to suit us, just tell the truth.
And here’s old Jacob, weighed down by a lifetime of lies and deceit, feeling everything is against him, and he hears Joseph is alive and sees a wagon that Joseph himself has sent him to carry him back to Egypt to see him. Joseph’s wagon. We have Joseph’s wagon today, he’s called the Holy Spirit. And he’s going to carry us to see Joseph, our Lord Jesus Christ. A gift from God to carry us through life, to take us where our old legs of flesh and sin can’t take us. God will carry us through life, on a journey we can’t do. He’s aged, he’s battle weary, but there’s a wagon for him, to carry him to see his beloved. That’ll make your spirit revive as it did Jacob. Nothing revives us spiritually like the good news of the gospel. Like the truth. It was like a resurrection after all those years, but Joseph was never dead. And death never conquered Jesus Christ. The story of resurrection, hope, glory… all these things were wrapped up in the message that the brothers brought their dad.
Joseph was so much better to them than they deserved, even while being rough and strange to them. Jesus Christ is rough and strange to the Christ rejecting sinner. And in all of this, that dusty conscience was being revived. That’s what God’s word does, it revives that dead conscience, and things happen and they’re instantly feeling the guilt of what they did to their brother all those years ago. Romans 7:9 – “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” They thought they’d buried the word of God, they’d buried Joseph, they were rid of him… but he’s back, and bigger and better than ever. God’s word will always prevail. You may think you got rid of God’s word. You shouldn’t try though, God’s word is your safety net for life. Why would you ever cast away what God’s given you, to help you, lead you, guide you.
Proverbs 1:8,9 – ” My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.” You can try throwing off all of it, it’s so foolish and it doesn’t change the truth. And it doesn’t change the day of reckoning that’s coming. You can live in your pretend Joseph-less world and get by with it, but you’ll never be done with God and his word. Joseph sent them back the first time with corn, but kept Simeon bound. What a nagging little fact that was, they nearly got home relatively unscathed. A lot of people get out of church unscathed for years , never convicted for their sin. But now another brother is down in Egypt, and they’re not racing back to fetch him. The need for corn is what drives them back, not Simeon’s absence. It can be a lot of work for God to move us stubborn old lie loving sinners. But God in his grace and mercy leaves reminders in your conscience and life that you can’t avoid, that you have to deal with. That’s for your good.
So today we have gone over Joseph’s life at some length. There’s so many truths in here. But the primary truth we were looking at today was the supremacy of God’s word, the surety of it. They thought they had gotten rid of Joseph, but one day the message comes back to Jacob, Joseph’s alive and he’s governor! He’s glorious, he’s high and lifted up! He’s all powerful! This world tries to free itself of God’s word, of its authority and call and demand on their lives. They try to live a life free of it and free of him. But one day there will be a reckoning and realization and a revelation. Because they thought Joseph was dealt with, they thought they’d gotten rid of him… but he was bigger and better and stronger and more relevant than ever before. “We shall see what will become of his dreams.” Maybe you think there’s nothing to the word of God, you’ve set it at pretty low level of relevance and importance to your life. But when the brothers come back, Joseph’s alive, and not just alive, but he’s the governor of Egypt, he’s the man in charge, and they describe his power and authority and glory… you think what Joseph said came flooding back to Jacob. You think there was a realization of God’s word was right all along? He had observed the saying of the dream, but he’d believed the bloody coat lie over the truth of God’s word.
For the Christian today, be encouraged that God is who he says is his, and he will do what he said he will do. You can’t thwart that. You can live like Jesus and his word “is not”, but he is. Because he is the “I am”. Just because you decide otherwise doesn’t change the fact of the matter. God’s word is the most sure thing in eternity, that’s why when heaven and earth pass away, God’s word will not pass away. His word, his promises… they’re eternal, because their author is. Despite all the brothers did, they couldn’t escape and rid themselves of the authority and truth of God’s word.
Are you a Jacob in this story? And you’re all burnt out because you’ve believed lies instead of God’s word. Satan’s lies burn you out, but God’s word revives the spirit. The gospel is what produces spiritual life, the new birth, and Joseph’s sent a wagon to carry you to see him. You will be given the Holy Spirit when you repent and believe, and he’s going to take you on the journey, and at journey’s end you’ll see him face to face just as the Bible promises in 1 Corinthians 13. You’ll see in life that God carried you all along when the journey was too great for you. God’s word will come to the fore in the end, and the stone that the builders rejected… is become the head of the corner. It’s the Lord’s doing, and it’s marvelous in my eyes, and hopefully in your eyes as well. They had left him for dead, but when they came down that trail to see their dad, with them came the realization and proof and confirmation that despite everything, God’s word was true and right and greater than ever before in the end. May the Lord bless his word to your heart today.
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Hi, my name is Joseph Zadow. I am a 32 y/o Bible Blogger. I was new to blogging once! God’s word is the best thing that we can be given, and once we have it and know it for ourselves it is both a privilege and responsibility to bring it to others! We are blessed to be a blessing! I am a sinner (for sure!) saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and I am a Lord Jesus Christ follower. He is faithful even though I rarely am to him. I believe the Bible is the word of God, and stake my life on it. My destination is heaven. As they say, I’m just a passin’ through this world… although most of the time it’s more like hangin’ by a thread in Jericho! I love playing sports – particularly cricket… I currently work on an orchard and a side hobby business of mine is growing vegetables etc – they are good for you! I love writing. Always happy to talk, so feel free to leave a comment. You can read more about me and my blog here – kjvbibletruth.com/about :)
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