Genesis 45:1-15 Psalm 133 Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32 Matthew 15:21-28
Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob. How do you have a favorite son of 12 sons and 1 daughter? I don’t know how you do this, but Jacob did it! And he gave Joseph a coat of many colors. This did not endear Joseph to his brothers any! That coat, was it Tie-dye or Technicolor?
During the 1960’s, Tie-Dye became popular. It was a way of showing how much of a free-spirit you were. Now, Tie-Dye is still a way to separate yourself from the crowd. Only now it means that you are an individual with different tastes than other people.
During the 1910’s, Technicolor became available for motion pictures. It was a way of adding color to films. Through the 1950’s, Technicolor was used to make movies that would attract lots of people. And they were successful movies.
Both Tie-Dye and Technicolor are quite noticeable. And so was the coat that Jacob gave his son, Joseph. By wearing the multi-colored coat, Joseph let his brothers know that he was the favorite son. And his brothers were not happy with Joseph. So they decided to get rid of him. They ended up selling him to a caravan of traders who took Joseph to Egypt. To cover their guilt, Jacob’s other 11 sons lied to their father by saying he was killed by a wild animal!
Joseph continued to be noticed in Egypt. He was thrown into prison for not sleeping with his master’s wife! While in prison Joseph interpreted some dreams for Pharaoh’s cup-bearer and baker. Unfortunately for Joseph, he was not remembered when the cup-bearer was released from the prison. That is until Pharaoh had some dreams.
Pharaoh’s dreams were hard to understand. Nobody in Egypt could interpret his dreams. That is until the cup-bearer remembered that Joseph had interpreted his dreams. Because Joseph was able to interpret the dreams, Pharaoh made him in charge of the preparations for the famine. It is during the time of that famine that we find Joseph meeting with his brothers.
A. The famine brought Joseph and his family together (42-44)
Jacob sends 10 of his sons to get food from Egypt. Joseph recognizes his brothers, yet they don’t recognize him. This might have been because (he spoke in Egyptian & was dressed royally. Joseph tells his brothers: “You are spies!” And so Joseph imprisons his brothers! Yet, after 3 days, minus Simeon, the brothers return to their father. However, when the grain runs out, the 9 brothers have to bring Benjamin with them when they go back to Egypt.
Joseph meets with his brothers again (privately weeping). This time Joseph wants to keep Benjamin in Egypt! Now, Judah wants to stand in the place of Benjamin! This is where we find Joseph and his brothers. Much has happened between the brothers. Is Joseph ready to forgive his brothers? Are his brothers ready to get out from under the burden of their guilt? Will the family have peace?
B. Joseph tells his brothers who he is
No Egyptians are in the room when he tells this this fact. With all that has happened, Joseph wants to know about his father. Throughout the time that Joseph reintroduces himself to his brothers, the brothers do not speak.
In this reintroduction, Joesph tells his brothers that. God sent me before you to preserve life. Does this mean that God permitted Joseph’s brothers to sin? No! Rather it means that takes the evil that has been done and turns it into good! This gives the impression that not every step of ours is predetermined by God! It does show that God’s promises are worked out, in spite of sin!
Joseph will help his family to live – ruling over them like his childhood dreams. We could realize that Jesus could have said what Joseph did. Joseph said that God sent me before you to preserve life – Jesus was there at creation, ready to create and preserve life! Also, God sent Joseph to Egypt – Israel had to be preserved through the famine – – Jesus was sent to earth – Israel & the rest of the nations had to be preserved through the day of the Lord’s judgment. Also, the Sanhedrin put Jesus to death, but Jesus rose from the grave to preserve life.
Joseph tells his brothers to bring their father to Egypt & live. Finally, all 12 brothers weep together. We realize something about Joseph. Joseph had toyed with his brothers. That is, he got some level of revenge against them. Joseph is not a perfect son. He made life difficult for his brothers. It was like he was once again rubbing in their faces that he was the favorite son. Yet, in the process he forgave his brothers – after 20 years! We can thank God that Jesus is not exactly like Joseph! Jesus does not toy with us. We are forgiven by what Jesus did on the cross – dying so we may live.
Joseph certainly got the attention of his brothers when they came to Egypt. It must have been like seeing Joseph in Technicolor. Yet, how Joseph treated his brothers until he forgave them, it certainly looked like Joseph was wearing Tie-dye. For Joseph had been quite rebellious in letting his identity be known by his brothers
The story of faith is complicated. Those who are chosen by God don’t always live sin-free lives. They mess up along the way. Yet, God sees the bigger picture about life. He even uses their sin and changes it so that life can be lived. He did that for Israel through Joseph. And God did this for the world through Jesus.
This story is not about permission to sin. It is rather the fact that even though we sin, God makes a way for us to have life. Sin kills us. But God gives us life. And we see that part of our living is wrestling with forgiveness. For it is when we forgive each other that we can live the life that God has for us.