‘“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, Lord my God.’”
Psalm 13: -13a
Genesis 41 – 42 (Psalm 13)
Two more years of imprisonment have passed for Joseph but then Pharaoh has a set of dreams and the Chief Cupbearer remembers Joseph. He is brought before Pharaoh and interprets the dreams and suggests a way forward. Pharaoh and the Court agree and suddenly Joseph is the Prime Minister, second only to Pharaoh, and responsible for seeing the country through the next fourteen years. Good times follow with plentiful harvest, marriage and children. Food is stored up for the difficult times to come and they do arrive. The famine is widespread and soon neighbouring peoples come to Egypt for help. Amongst these visitors are Joseph’s brothers. A painful reunion occurs although the brothers do not realise who Joseph is. Simeon is kept imprisoned by Joseph to ensure his brother Benjamin comes on the next visit. The brothers return home with grain but their silver is returned, unbeknown to them, in their sacks. This increases their fear and tension. Their father Jacob is distraught, unwilling to let Benjamin return with them to Egypt; it’s a real ‘nightmare’ of a situation.
I don’t know about you but I think I could have interpreted those dreams, so maybe there is fear in Pharaoh’s courts and no one is willing to step up. Joseph, however, takes the opportunity presented but it is a much humbled character; straight away he gives credit to God, ‘“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”’ God has been working on his heart and personality during the time of affliction (Psalm 119: 67, 71 & 75). After the interpretation is given though, Joseph does use his God given wisdom to confidently propose a way forward. He was humbled for a period then God lifted him up at the right time for a specific work (1 Peter 5: 6).
Seeing his brothers is painful for Joseph and in some ways he seems to exact a form of revenge but as this plays out over the next chapters we see that there is more to this than meets the eye. His brothers clearly carry guilt, they blame each other but some step up and show that they want to make amends.
Similarities with Joseph and Jesus continue. Both went through approximately 30 years of preparation for their God ordained purposes. Both were blessings to people who did not all recognise or accept them; both were God’s means of big picture salvation
Dreams are much misunderstood, maligned or over emphasized, yet God will clearly speak through them, “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams,” Acts 2: 17. We must submit them to God and test them against His Word and the truth of Jesus (1 John 4: 1-3).
Reaping what we sow is a clear biblical principal (e.g. Galatians 6: 7-9). We see it in the life of Joseph both in his character and his actions (use of the plentiful harvest). We see it in the family relationships also. The brothers especially have inherited jealousy and bitterness from their early years that caused them to act in a terrible way. They have carried guilt and bitterness for a long time that has impacted their lives and relationships. We will reap what we sow in our lives and relationships; in emotions, actions, motives and words.
The Question of Application
What are we sowing and reaping in our lives and relationships? Do we need the reconciliation, healing and forgiveness Jesus offers for ourselves and others?
Lord Jesus, freely we have received from you so enable us to freely give. As we reap reconciliation, healing and forgiveness in our relationship with you so may we sow in your love to bless, forgive and reconcile, empowered by your Holy Spirit within. All to your glory. Amen
From Matthew 10: 8b and John 20: 22-23
Freely, Freely by Maranatha
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.