Before we look at this and say why? Let’s remember God’s words to Abraham in Genesis 15. Chapter 12, 15, 17…Promise, Covenant, Sign. Chapter 15 was the Covenant so it is good to refer back to when we say “Why?”
13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.
We are fulfilling prophecy here, that’s why. Moving towards this. God is taking his chosen people and moving them to be strangers in a country not their own. He is pulling them to Egypt, he is using the famine as a means to do that. He thinks of everything!
Chapter 43: Well, no one seems concerned that Simeon is in prison (Reuben, Simeon, and Levi are the bad kids of this family!). So Judah guarantees his life if Israel allows them to bring Benjamin. The famine is 2 years in. They bring gifts with them that are not common in Egypt in order to gain favor (honey, balm, spices, myrrh, pistachios and almonds) oh, yeah and DOUBLE the amount of silver. When they get there…Joseph sees that Benjamin is alive…and weeps. Joseph, in keeping with Egyptian laws, eats separately, but makes sure his brother Ben (by the way Ben is my favorite Michael Jackson song in case you were wondering) gets extra.
Chapter 44: HUGE moment!! JUDAH!! He told his dad that he would guarantee Benjamin’s life…but after all, Benjamin is the “favorite” now to Jacob…so will he really? Or will this be another plan to get rid of him?
So Joseph tells the brothers to go back but LEAVE Benjamin…and Judah says to Joseph…’
33 “Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. 34 How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father.”
Bless his heart. LITERALLY…Bless it! The first 3 brothers disqualified themselves from receiving the Blessing…and actually the birth rite too (search your brain, we talked about birth rites and blessings last week). JUDAH will get the Blessing. As Candace pointed out in the comments last week, this is a big deal because the blessing secures the covenant. The covenant will NOW pass through the line of Judah. (When you sing at church and you hear the Lion of Judah you will now totally get it!). Who gets the birth rite? Wait for it…..if you don’t already know, you will on Wednesday.
Chapter 45: I want to point our 2 specific parts. Although I love them all.
4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
If you have a few hours we can break this down!
- When we tell this story we say “Joseph is the one the brothers sold into Egypt”.
- When God tells this story He says “Joseph is the one I sent to Egypt”.
- Why did God send him? Not to just save the family. God sent him to preserve a REMNANT on EARTH to save lives!
A remnant is ‘what remains’ or ‘what is left’. When speaking about a remnant after a catastrophe it is ‘what survived’.
If you click on the “Handouts” you will see I posted a timeline. The family will go through slavery, wandering, battles, cycles with judges, kings (mostly bad ones), a divided kingdom and they will get captured and taken out of the promise land. So why do we know with confidence that there will be a remnant at the end for the purpose of saving lives? BECAUSE GOD PROMISED AND SEALED IT WITH A COVENANT in Chapter 15.
The other thing is not nearly as cool to talk about but it’s still fun to note. verse 17-18.
17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, 18 and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’
Thanks but no thanks!! We remember what happened to Lot when he lived IN the city. It was a nice jester, but God will proactively protect them.