Saturday, January 30, 2021

2021.01.30 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 45:1–15

Read Genesis 45:1–15

Questions from the Scripture text: What couldn’t Joseph do in Genesis 45:1? What did he cry out? Who was left? What did he do? What else did he do in Genesis 45:2? Who heard? What did Joseph say to whom (Genesis 45:3)? What did he ask? What couldn’t they do? Why? Then what does he ask them to do (Genesis 45:4)? Now how does he identify himself—what detail does he add? But what does he tell them not to do (Genesis 45:5)? Why? What was happening? What information does he reveal to them in Genesis 45:6? What has God done (Genesis 45:7)? For what two reasons? In comparing both actors, whose action was small enough as not to count (Genesis 45:8)? Whose action overruled? Where did God send Joseph? Into what three positions/statuses was He bringing Joseph? To whom does Joseph now send them (Genesis 45:9)? At what pace? Whose message are they to deliver? What are they to say in Joseph’s behalf? What does Joseph want his father to do? When? Where would Jacob dwell (Genesis 45:10)? Near to whom? With whom? And whom else? With what? And what else? What will Joseph do (Genesis 45:11)? To prevent what? Why is this necessary? Now what does Joseph point out to his brothers in Genesis 45:12? What does he tell them to tell Jacob in their own behalf (Genesis 45:13)? How does he summarize their mission? What does he reemphasize about its speed? Then what does Joseph do to whom (Genesis 45:14)? And what does he do? What two other things does Joseph do to whom in Genesis 45:15? Then what are they finally able to do with him?

The Holy Spirit makes it rather easy to see the main point of the passage:

“God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5).

“God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth and save your lives by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:7).

“So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 45:8).

“God has made me Lord of all Egypt” (Genesis 45:9).

It is exactly this sovereign control and perfect wisdom of God that the brothers (and even Jacob) have failed to grapple with. This is why they are dismayed in Genesis 45:3. Perhaps Joseph is naïve to think that they are upset with themselves in Genesis 45:5. Perhaps he can see something that we don’t. From their behavior so far, and how they’ll still be thinking in another 17 years (cf. Genesis 50:15–18), it certainly seems that they are primarily afraid of revenge. But God’s sovereign control and wisdom is exactly why revenge is the last thing on David’s mind (cf. Genesis 50:19–21).

Joseph’s message is simple: your sin is culpable, but shouldn’t cause dismay or paralysis. Rather, be grateful for what God has done, and respond in kind. With five more years of famine coming, now is the time for decisive action to lay hold of that deliverance that God has provided (Genesis 45:6Genesis 45:9-11Genesis 45:13). “Hurry,” he tells them at the beginning of Genesis 45:9, and he tells them to say the same thing to their father, “do not tarry.” Again in verse 13, “you shall hurry and bring my father down here.”  

Yet, it is only after he has not only wept over Benjamin (Genesis 45:14), but kissed and wept over them (Genesis 45:15) that the brothers feel free to talk with him again. The dismay dissolves, and the paralysis passes. Whether it is the forgiveness of others who meant evil and did evil, or the need to take quick and decisive action, what we need for the task before us is to recognize God’s sovereign control and perfect wisdom.

Whom do you need to forgive? What has God done for you through their harmfulness? What dismaying or deflating situation are you in? How does God’s control over it and wisdom in it free you to take decisive action?

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH231 “Whate’er My God Ordains Is Right”

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