9 January 2022 PM – Genesis 42 – Gen2022 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Mephibosheth (2Sa 4), fell and broke his legs. He had no doctor to set them, and he was a cripple for the rest of his life. When a person breaks a leg, the doctor forces the bone back into its right location and places a cast on the leg to keep the bone in place, this can be a painful procedure, however, it is for his good.
Transition: In Genesis 42, God was using troubles, tests and turmoils to break Joseph’s brothers and bring them to repentance – for their good. He will do the same in our lives when needed – for our good!
1. God uses Troubles (Gen 42:1-8)
a. The famine was a major trouble to Jacob’s family
1) The famine did not surprise God. God has never been surprised! God knew the famine was coming. He knew it before he sent Joseph to Egypt 20 years before. He knew it would last 7 years. By the way, God has known for years that the Covid Pandemic was coming.
2) Jacob and his family were feeling the burden of the famine. The grass was all brown. The streams were drying up. Their animals were beginning to suffer and die. Jacob and his family were beginning to run short of food themselves. This was a major trouble.
3) However, Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt. Unknown to Jacob and his family, before the famine began, God had made adequate provision for their troubles. They must learn to trust the Lord fully.
4) When Covid, job loss, sickness, shortage, heartache or any other trouble comes our way, we must believe that God has adequate provision, and He makes no mistakes.
b. The trip to Egypt was a trouble to the brothers.
1) Joseph’s brothers knew there was grain in Egypt, but just looked at each other (v.1). It is as if they dreaded going to Egypt, where they had sent Joseph.
2) Jacob still had not learned to stop playing favourites. With Joseph gone, his only full brother Benjamin became the favourite. Though Benjamin was a married man with many children, Jacob would not let him go to Egypt (v.4).
3) Joseph’s brothers arrived in Egypt (v.5-6). They bowed to the ground before Joseph. Though they did not know it yet, the dreams they had hated more than 20 years earlier had come to pass. They were bowing to Joseph.
4) Joseph knew his brothers (v.7-8). However, because of Joseph’s Egyptian dress, his name, his authority, his harsh speech, and because he used an interpreter, his brothers did not recognise him.
5) The trip and Joseph’s rough treatment added to their troubles. However, all their troubles were actually for their good. Their troubles forced them to face challenging situations they would not otherwise have faced. God uses our troubles do the same in our lives.
2. God uses Tests (Ge 42:9-26)
a. Joseph tested his brothers with questions (v.9-16)
1) He accused them of being spies. He was testing their attitudes and humility. They bowed and called themselves his servants (v.10-11, 13).
2) He was testing their honesty and faithfulness by requiring that their youngest brother come down (v.16).
b. Joseph tested his brothers with prison (v.17-26)
1) At first, he put them all in prison (v.17).
2) After three days, he said he would let them all go except one who would remain in prison (v.18-20).
3) Joseph heard their talk though they did not know he could understand (v.21-23). He secretly wept (v.24).
4) He bound Simeon and kept him in prison. Joseph may have chosen Simeon, his second-oldest brother because Reuben, the eldest, had tried to save him.
5) Why did Joseph test his brothers instead of immediately hugging them? I believe he was testing them to see if they had changed. They had been hateful and cruel. He wanted to see if that was still true. He also wanted to see if they were now trustworthy. God used those tests to put fear in their hearts and to humble them.
6) Sometimes God uses tests in our lives to get us to humbly repent and turn from sin. God longs for our closeness, and such tests are for our good.
a) (Psalms 86:5) “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.“
b) (Proverbs 28:13) “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.“
7) Other times, God uses tests to reveal our true hearts. This is what He did with Abraham in Genesis 22.
3. God uses Turmoils (Ge 42:27-38)
a. Guilt is a common turmoil
1) Perhaps during the three days the brothers were bound in prison, Joseph was seeking God’s mind concerning what to do next.
2) The plan he followed intensified their guilt and fear creating turmoil. He returned their money in each of their grain sacks. He also gave them provisions or food for their journey.
3) Note their response when they discovered the money (v.28). Their guilt was increasing their turmoil. They thought God was cursing them.
4) Later, when they all found their money returned, they were afraid (v.35).
5) We all know that unconfessed guilt is tormenting. For some 21 years, these brothers have been tormented by guilt, and now it was catching up with them. Again, God was allowing all this for their good. They had to be humbled, broken, and willing to confess before they could know God’s forgiveness and peace.
b. Grief is another turmoil.
1) The sons told Jacob of all their troubles and tests and this increased Jacob’s grief (v.36). Grief is sorrow caused by loss.
2) Reuben felt the grief as well (v.37). Like his brothers, he must have thought that God was revenging them for selling Joseph as a slave. Though he had been against it, he had kept it a bitter secret.
3) In grief, Jacob flatly refused to let Benjamin go down (v.38).
4) The events of life seemed to have turned against them, yet God had been preparing these things for more than 20 years. Though they did not know it yet, God was at work in their lives for their good.
5) This week I read Job 1:12, “And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.” I was reminded that no trouble, test or turmoil ever comes without God allowing it. God allows these unpleasant times because He longs for us to come forth as gold (Job 23:10). Troubles, tests, and turmoil are for our good. Even when God may be using these to chasten us, they are still for our good. (Hebrews 12:11) “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” God wants us to trust Him fully and humbly submit.
Conclusion: Life is full of troubles, tests and turmoil. If you are not facing any at the moment, you will. Often, in the midst of these unpleasant events, we have no idea what God has in mind, but we must never forget that God has allowed them for our good.
How should we respond? Job responded, (Job 13:15) “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” Paul replied, (2 Corinthians 12:9) “… Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” James wrote, (James 1:2) “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;” Each of these men realised that troubles, tests, and turmoil are for our good. With God’s help, we must do the same. To do so, we must see the greatness of our God.