The Christline Preserved
The famine that God showed Pharoah is over all of the earth. For two years the crops have failed. All the food that people had saved, the typical amount, is used up. People are starving and there is no end in sight. Word had gotten around that there is food in Egypt. Jacob (Israel) hears of the food in Egypt which is 300 miles away and sends 10 of his sons to go buy food.
Joseph's brothers arrive in Egypt and find out whom they are to see to buy food. They are told that Pharoah has appointed a steward over all of the stores of food in Egypt and that is whom they need to talk to. When they come before this clean shaven man clothed in fine clothing (top executive style) and speaking to them via an interpreter they don't recognize him. Who are they looking at? Joseph! They hadn't seen him in at least 22 years. Twenty-two years changes a person especially when they are living in a foreign land eating different foods, learning different manners and customs. Being in charge of the greatest nation on the earth has something to do with it also. This is the last place the brothers would have dreamed of finding Joseph-indeed they were not even looking for him.
Now Joseph knew to whom he was talking and he could have been thinking "Aha, pay back time! See I told you so, here you are bowing before me just like God said you would." But is this his attitude? We all have challenging circumstances come up but it is our attitude toward God and His Word that determines the outcome. If you look at those challenging circumstances as being the most powerful thing in your life--that you can't have any control over them--you will be defeated. But if you look at those challenging circumstances and realize that regardless of them God is able to bless you and bring you victory, then God can bring his Word to pass for you. Let us look at Joseph's attitude.
The first time they came (Chapter 42) Joseph accused them of being spies, required that one of them stay behind in prison and that they bring back the youngest son to confirm that they were not spies. Here is a glimpse of Joseph's attitude as he heard them talking among themselves:
:21 And they said one to another,
We are verily guilty concerning our brother, [Joseph]
in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us,
and we would not hear;
therefore is this distress come upon us.
:22 And Reuben answered them, saying,
Spake I not unto you, saying,
Do not sin against the child;
and ye would not hear?
therefore, behold, also his blood is required.
:23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them;
for he spake unto them by an interpreter.
:24 And he turned himself about from them,
and returned to them again,
and communed with them,
and took from them Simeon,
and bound him before their eyes.
:25 Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn,
and to restore every man's money into his sack,
and to give them provision for the way:
and thus did he unto them.
:26 And they laded their asses with the corn,
and departed thence.
Joseph still loved his brethren even after what they had done to him, later we will see the reason why.
After Jacob's household had eaten all of the grain they had brought from Egypt Jacob tells them to go get more, they have to take Benjamin with them this time. The reason why Joseph and Benjamin was so loved by Jacob is because they were the only two sons of his most beloved first wife that was barren for a while and died while giving birth to Benjamin. This distressed Jacob, but he has no choice, and lets him go.
When the sons arrive in Egypt Joseph dines them, releases Simeon (the one he had kept in prison), gives them their grain, restores all of their money to them plus puts his personal silver cup into Benjamin's sack and sends them off. He then sends his stewards after them to retrieve them and accuse them of stealing. This is a grievous situation for the sons of Jacob. They even stood up in defense of themselves saying that they wouldn't steal from Pharoah. In fact, they agreed that the person who has the silver cup in his sack should become a bondman. When the cup is found in Benjamin's sack they are all distressed. Judah steps up to defend Benjamin and offers himself to be a servant instead of Benjamin because it would destroy his father if Benjamin is not returned. They all return to Joseph and Judah stands for the defense of his brothers and father. His pleas recount their obedience to Joseph's commandments and how that leaving Benjamin in Egypt would kill his father. (Chapter 44, I exhort you to read it).
:1 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him;
and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me.
And there stood no man with him,
while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.
:2 And he wept aloud:
and the Egyptians
and the house of Pharaoh heard.
Look at Joseph's heart after all these years without his family.
:3 And Joseph said unto his brethren,
I am Joseph; doth my father yet live?
And his brethren could not answer him;
for they were troubled at his presence.
"Troubled at his presence," we can understand this, imagine you are a sheep herder in Mongolia, and you run out of food, and the only place to get any is to go into this big court yard of the Kremlin. You march in and there is this big tough guy sitting on this big seat surrounded by all these guys with machine guns. And you walk in and find out that the boss, the guy with all of the power, is the little brother you sold into slavery many years ago. I can understand their trepidation.
:4 And Joseph said unto his brethren,
Come near to me, I pray you.
And they came near.
And he said,
I am Joseph your brother,
whom ye sold into Egypt.
:5 Now therefore be not grieved,
nor angry with yourselves,
that ye sold me hither:
What a heart, no negatives, bitterness, no retribution against his brothers, he was thankful. He kept his heart pure before God, he kept the perspective of God's Word and God's promises. He didn't let the negative circumstances get him negative and bitter. We all have negative and bitter situations. The devil is always there trying to draw us off God's Word, that doesn't change. Also what doesn't change is God and His promises, and God's ability to bring deliverance when we believe His promises.
:6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land:
and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earring nor harvest.
:7 And God sent me before you
to preserve you a posterity in the earth,
and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
:8 So now it was not you that sent me hither,
and he hath made me
a father to Pharaoh, and
lord of all his house, and
a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt,
It took 22 years for the revelation God had given him to come to pass, in the mean time Joseph had been thrown into a pit by his brothers, sold into slavery, betrayed again and thrown into prison. Yet God did what He said He would do and it preserved the Christline. If the children of Israel had all died because of the famine, there would have been no Christline, Joseph is not in the Christline but Judah his brother is. God had it prepared and figured out so that the Christline was preserved.
:9 Haste ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him,
Thus saith thy son Joseph,
God hath made me lord of all Egypt:
come down unto me, tarry not:
:10 And thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen,
and thou shalt be near unto me, thou,
and thy children,
and thy children's children,
and thy flocks,
and thy herds,
and all that thou hast:
:11 And there will I nourish thee;
for yet there are five years of famine;
and thy household,
and all that thou hast,
come to poverty.
:12 And, behold, your eyes see,
and the eyes of my brother Benjamin,
that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you.
:13 And ye shall tell my father of all my glory in Egypt,
and of all that ye have seen;
and ye shall haste and bring down my father hither.
:14 And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, [blood brother, Rachel is their mother]
and Benjamin wept upon his neck.
:15 Moreover he kissed all his brethren,
and wept upon them:
and after that his brethren talked with him.
What a heart to believe God. When the Word comes to pass your heart is full and overflows. No bitterness just thankfulness to God and now there was a way for God to protect his family from death. He had not become negative and bitter by the circumstances, but he had believed God's Word throughout, had kept his heart pure with God and, had been thankful for God's deliverance, regardless of the challenges he went through. The circumstances doesn't matter, what matters is having God's Word and believing it.
:22 And Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he, and his father's house:
and Joseph lived an hundred and ten years.
:23 And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation:
the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh
were brought up upon Joseph's knees.
[Ephraim & Manasseh are Joseph's children by Asenath his wife]
:24 And Joseph said unto his brethren,
I die: and God will surely visit you,
and bring you out of this land
unto the land which he sware to Abraham,
and to Jacob.
:25 And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying,
God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.
:26 So Joseph died,
being an hundred and ten years old:
and they embalmed him,
and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
Joseph ends up being a great-great-great grandfather and dies at the age 110. He prophesies that God will bring them out of Egypt and they will take his bones with them.
I Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren,
be ye stedfast,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
The children of Israel where there about two hundred years and in the mean time the Dynasty of Egypt changes and they didn't know Joseph. They had no sympathy for what Joseph had done for Pharaoh. In the mean time the Children of Israel had grown to be a great nation. There were about 600,000 men, married men, who would have several children. They had become so numerous that the Egyptians got nervous, they didn't want to be outnumbered, so they made them slaves, put task masters over them, and made them build cities and monuments to keep them under control. When things finally got bad enough for the Children of Israel they cried unto God to help them. God hearkens unto their pleas and their deliverance is revealed in Exodus.