Joseph had been testing his brothers to see if their actions proved them to be honest, upright, and caring. They had brought the money back for the grain they’d taken home on their first trip to Egypt. Though they had tarried somewhat, they had come back to rescue Simeon. They obviously cherished and looked out for their younger brother Benjamin. Judah had even offered to take Benjamin’s place as the prince’s slave. It was now abundantly clear that these brothers, who were once just murderous boys, had matured and developed into honorable men of good character. The test was complete.
Today’s message is called “Joseph Shows Kindness”. It focuses on the events recorded in Genesis 45. After this sermon is complete, there will only be 3 more left in this series. We are nearing the end my friends. Yeah!
I. REVELATION (v1-8)
Joseph had been concealing his true identity from his brothers for the past several months. When Judah sacrificially offered himself to be the prince’s slave rather than Benjamin, Joseph had seen enough. He was now fully convinced that his brothers were changed men. Therefore, he cleared the room of everyone other than himself and his brothers. Once they were alone, Joseph told them who he was. As he did so, he was overcome with emotion and wept loudly so that the Egyptians heard. The brothers were dumbfounded and unable to respond.
Joseph asked them to come closer. He stated that he wasn’t angry at them for selling him in slavery years ago. He even counseled them to forgive themselves for having done so. Instead, he now recognized that it had all been a part of God’s grand design. Joseph’s rocky past had providentially led him to become the Prince of Egypt. As prince, Joseph was in a unique position to deliver his family (and countless others) from starvation and famine. It had been God’s plan all along, so that the Hebrew people would be saved.
Isn’t forgiveness wonderful? Joseph’s brothers expected him to be furious with them for how they’d mistreated him years ago. Instead, Joseph extended kindness and compassion to them. He didn’t hold a grudge and wasn’t poisoned by bitterness. Instead he acknowledged that God was sovereign over all things, including the events of his own life. This realization freed him to forgive his brothers and to praise God in all circumstances (Job 1:21-22).
II. INVITATION (v9-15)
Joseph instructed his brothers to go quickly and tell their father Jacob that he was still alive and had become the prince. He asked them to bring their entire family and all of their possessions from Canaan to Egypt and to settle in the region of Goshen, where the Nile river flows into the sea. He said that there were 5 years of famine remaining, and that he wanted his family to live close by that he might provide for and protect them. Joseph hugged Benjamin, kissed all of his brothers, and they conversed with one another as the tears of joy flowed down their cheeks.
Joseph invited his family to leave their uncertainty and fears behind by moving to a place where they’d be cared for and sustained. Have you ever received an invitation? Invitations offer us access to things that we might not otherwise be privy to. Invitations express a desire on the part of the giver to have us there. Invitations are powerful. The gospel message is an invitation made to everyone to receive salvation and eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.
III. PREPARATION (v16-23)
When the news spread throughout Pharaoh’s house that Joseph and his brothers had been reunited, Pharaoh and his servants were greatly pleased. Pharaoh consented to Joseph’s earlier promise to allow Jacob and his family to settle in Goshen. This was the most lush and fertile land in all of Egypt. Pharaoh didn’t want the brothers to be concerned about where they’d live. What’s more, he even arranged for and sent wagons back with them to Canaan to help with the move.
In addition to this, Joseph gave his brothers provisions for their journey. He gave each of them a change of garments. However, he specifically gave Benjamin 5 changes of garments and 300 pieces of silver. He also sent male and female donkeys loaded with many fine things from Egypt, bread, and grain. All of these things would provide ample sustenance for the family as they relocated to Egypt.
Have you ever moved to a distant location? It’s a huge and costly undertaking. I’ve moved several times during my life, but always within Texas! Like the wagons in this story, we’ve had to rent moving trucks to carry all of our things. We loaded them up, drove them to our new house, and then carefully unloaded everything. It’s exhausting. When I think about it, it makes me hope that I’ll never have to move again...
IV. JUBILATION (24-28)
Joseph’s brothers gathered all of their things, including the wagons and provisions they had been given for the trip, and returned home. When they arrived, they told their father Jacob that his beloved son Joseph was still alive. In fact, he was the ruler over Egypt. Jacob was stunned by their statement and didn’t immediately believe them. For almost 22 years he had presumed that Joseph was dead. But when Jacob saw the Egyptian wagons and provisions, his mind changed. Joseph was alive, and Jacob desperately wanted to go and see him.
I can only imagine the joy Jacob must have felt when he heard and was convinced that his long-lost son Joseph was still alive. I’ve heard several heart wrenching stories of people that have lost loved ones only to be reunited with them years later. Perhaps you’ve been touched by a similar experience. In a real sense, this is the hope we have in Christ. As the redeemed children of God, we have the assurance that no separation is permanent - not even death - and that someday we will meet again in Heaven.
Let me close by pointing out more similarities between Joseph and Jesus. After thinking him to be dead for years, Joseph’s brothers were finally reunited with him. During their first meeting Benjamin was not with them. However, the second time he was. In a similar way, after Jesus had been dead for 3 days, He rose from the grave and appeared to His disciples. On His first appearance Thomas was not with them, but a week later he was.
After speaking with his brothers, Joseph prepared to meet his father once again. Likewise, after appearing to His disciples for 40 days, Jesus prepared to return to His Father on Ascension Day. They would soon be in each other’s presence again.
Finally, Joseph forgave his brothers and invited his family to come live in Egypt. His kindness is a picture of Christ’s love for us. Jesus has forgiven us of our transgressions and offered us salvation and eternal life with Him. Have you accepted His invitation?