One of history's most famous speeches was on October 29 in 1941 given by Winston Churchill to a group of students. These were students that were going to school at his old school and it was a very short speech but among his words that day were the simple admonition: never give in, never give up, never, never, never in things great or small, large or petty, unless it's a matter of conscience or good sense, never give in. Joseph could've given that speech. This kid never gave up. Resilient as all get-out. When he was sold as a slave by his brothers to the Midianites, he never gave up. When he became a slave in the house of Potiphar, he never gave up. When he was falsely accused and placed into prison, the common prison, he never gave up. When a worldwide famine was foreseen by him, he never gave up. He never gave in. But he comes up with a plan. I believe that Joseph is probably the greatest biblical example of Romans 8:28. You know it and you know it well. And we know that all things work together for good, the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. We know that, Paul said. Do you know that? Do you, on a personal level, know that no matter what is happening, even currently in your life, that all things are working together for good? For your good. For your highest good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. It's an interesting word in that verse, Romans 8:28: the words work together, all things work together. There's not two words in the original--it's one Greek word. Sunergeo. Work together. Sunergeo. We get the term synergy from that word. Synergy. If you were to look it up, synergy means the working together of various elements to produce a result greater than the sum of those elements. That's a mouthful. God does that with the sum of all of the elements in our lives that seem not to make sense at the time. God is in the midst of it. Sunergeo. Causing a synergism so that the result is greater than the sum of all of the elements. Even though at the time you would swear that you're experiencing an event that couldn't be good by any stretch of the imagination. How could this possibly be good for me? This is horrible for me! Because it hurts me. It's uncomfortable for me. It's interesting, this synergism. If you were to take certain elements, certain compounds, that in and of themselves are poisonous, when you put them together are actually helpful. When you take two elements and combine them and make sodium chloride, table salt, a lot of people like that and it doesn't seem to, at a moderate level, hurt anybody. In fact, it makes things taste really good. So God is able to take certain things that happen, certain events that fall, it would seem, fall into place in your life and cause them to so be related to each other that it's actually beneficial to you. Now keep all this in mind. We're not gonna get to it tonight. But at the very end, when Joseph sees his brothers, he's gonna say that. He's gonna give this statement of faith, this Romans 8:28 statement of faith. He'll say as for you, my brothers, as for you, you meant this for evil, but God meant it for good to save many people as it is alive this day. God knew it all along, Joseph said. I didn't. I struggled with it. I wondered why I was being sold, hated, enslaved, accused. But now I get it. All things work together for good. Paul said we know that and I wonder if you really know that. If you do, you'll be able to rest on that. R.A. Torrey, Ruben A. Torrey, said of Romans 8:28, it's a soft pillow for a weary heart. Isn't it a great verse? It's a great verse but again, do you know it? It's a hard verse--Romans 8:28. If Romans 8:28 read like this it would make it a lot easier to deal with: And we know that most things work together for good. We can get our heads around that one. By experience, we can say yeah, you know what? All in all, most things just sort of work together and you know, God is good, but then there are those few things that you think, God made a mistake on that one. We know all things work together for good. Go back in your minds, and this is of course preparatory before we even begin chapter 42, God willing we'll get through chapter 42, but do you remember Job? You remember him. We did a series on him Sunday morning. Do you remember when he was struggling with the episode of suffering in his own life and he was trying to find God in the midst of it? And he said something like this, I go forward and He's not there. I look backward and I can perceive Him. I go to the right hand and to the left hand but God's nowhere to be found. I can't find God! But then he says but He knows the way that I take and when I am tested I will be brought forth as gold, or come forth as gold. I don't know where God is, but God knows where I am. I don't know what God's up to, but He knows what I'm up to and moreover, He's synergizing everything for my highest good that I will come forth as gold. That's what Job said. Job said something else in the midst of his suffering. He said though He slay me, yet I will trust Him. Did you get that? Though God kills me, though this trial kills me, by the will of God, I'll still trust Him. So I have a question and I pose it to myself as well: what is your limit to trusting God? Job's limit was though He slay me, I will trust Him. That's his limit. In other words, sky's the limit--even if I die. What is your limit in trusting God? Are you saying secretly in your heart I trust God as long as I enjoy good health? But if I ever get a debilitating disease, I think I'll just lose my faith. Or I trust God as long as I maintain my high standard of living. If I ever lose that standard of living, all bets are off. I trust God as long as this relationship works out. If it doesn't, how can I ever trust God or anyone else again? What is the limit to trusting? Job said though He slay me, yet I will trust Him. Joseph not Job, Joseph, will look back on his life, I'm planting this seed because you'll see it in a few weeks, he'll look back on his life and he'll say all of this worked together by God's perfect plan. Well Joseph was in the prison, now he is in the palace. Joseph is the classic rags to riches story. He went from riches to rags; we've already seen that part. Last week we saw, we were entering in, to the rags to riches, the adversity to prosperity, from the pit to the pinnacle, if you will. Not many people can handle that. Some people are okay with adversity; fewer people can handle prosperity. As somebody once said, there's very few people that can hold the full cup. Sometimes when people are blessed financially, and Joseph has the checkbook of the world, he has Egypt's checkbook, he can do whatever he wants, he has the signet ring. He can make any expenditure for whatever. When people suddenly get blessed financially, it ruins most people. Not all people. I've known some very wealthy believers that God has unusually blessed with extraordinary resources. But I've also noticed that God blessed them because God knows He can trust them. They'll be generous themselves. They don't hold on to it. It doesn't ruin them. It doesn't ruin relationships. They know how to hold that cup and manage it well and reflect God's goodness in the midst of their prosperity. But most people can't. Just do a little research on those who have won the lottery. There's one interesting story of a woman named Evelyn Adams. She won the New Jersey Lottery not once--but twice. Two years in a row: 1985 and 1986. Now you're thinking something's up with that. She cleared 5.4 million dollars in just over a year's time. Today, Evelyn Adams has absolutely no money and lives in a trailer. She said everybody had their hand out. Everybody was asking for money. And she said there's one word in the English language I never learned how to use properly and I wish I had: it's the word no. I said yes to everyone and everyone was suddenly my friend and relatives were suddenly more in need than ever before and it ruined her. She goes it ruined my life. I wish I never would've gotten it. Story after story after story. So keep that in mind. God loves you too much to ruin you. Aren't you glad He loves you that much? That He won't give that much to you because He just knows it'll ruin your life? That's just the grace of God. Just go home and say thank You, Lord, that I'm not rich. Well in Genesis chapter 42 Joseph is rich. He realizes he's a steward of it. He's working for Pharaoh. He's number two. 21 years have passed from the time that Joseph was sold by his brothers to the Midianites--21 years. Joseph was 17 years of age then. He's matured now. Joseph predicted, because of the dreams of Pharaoh, that there would be a period of seven years of abundance and then seven years of famine. It's the second of those two episodes in chapter 42. It's probably year two of the seven years of famine in the land of Egypt. And so we go to verse 1 of chapter 42: "When Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, "Why do you look at one another?" And he said, "Indeed I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down to that place and buy for us there, that we may live and not die." Now it seems that everybody in the family knew that there was a famine in the land but nobody wanted to talk about it. They just sort of looked at each other. Ever seen families like that? Where they know there are problems, there are issues, there's this level of dysfunction, but nobody, nobody deals with the issues, nobody really talks about the problems. And if somebody brings it up, it's ssh! Not allowed. Very unhealthy family situations. This seems to be one of those weird families. There's an obvious famine in the land. They're just sort of looking at each other because it's like, they're pointing to their mouths like, I'm hungry, aren't you? So finally the old man speaks up. And he says why are just sitting around looking at each other? I have heard that there's grain to be gotten in Egypt. Little does he know that it's his own boy that has secured the rescue operation. Operation: Storehouse. Let's call it that. Joseph started Operation: Storehouse and because he did, and there were granaries now that had collected grain all over the land of Egypt, when there's a famine in Canaan, they go down. Abraham did that in chapter 12. There was a famine in the land and the famine was very severe and so Abraham went down. It's a lack of faith but here it's a matter of survival. And they say let's go down to Egypt. This is a beautiful illustration of faith. I've heard--I've heard--I've heard there's grain. Let's go down and check it out. That's faith. Faith doesn't sit around and go, I've heard so I'm just gonna sit and see if anything ever happens. Now I've heard this so I'm gonna check it out to see if this is true. Any time you hear a promise from God, from the Word of God, and when you act upon that promise, your faith will grow. If you just look at it and analyze it and go I don't know if that's true, I don't know if that's true, just sort of sit around and look at each other, you might never discover what believing that promise can do. So whenever you hear a promise of the Word of God and you act to believe on that promise, your faith will increase. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. I've heard this. Why don't you boys go check it out? Of course, he was an old man. He would of course send his boys down. "So Joseph's ten brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt." There's a lot in that verse. I know it's just a little verse; it's a matter of fact. But this is a 250-300 mile trip. It would take six weeks total to go down, roundtrip, and come back. They would have to leave their families and make arrangements for their flocks and all the responsibilities when they went down. More than that, when they went to Egypt, they just were not ready for what they were about to encounter. They were gonna run into a character named Zaphnath-Paaneah, also known as Joseph. They won't know him as Joseph yet, just as Zaphnath-Paaneah. He's gonna be the second-in-command. He's gonna be their brother. Their brother will recognize them; they won't recognize him. They are not ready for this encounter. It's gonna blow their minds. We won't get to it tonight because, as you can see, I'm moving rather slowly. Joseph is grown up. Joseph is wealthy. Joseph works for Egypt. He's got a two-camel garage. He's got a wife. He has two children. Verse 4: "But Jacob did not send Joseph's brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he said, "Lest some calamity befall him." Now again, we are getting some insight into the family dynamics. The family of Jacob. Just remember back, it was Joseph that was the favored kid. He got the special attention. He got the special coat. He got the supervisor's position. He didn't have to work. He just had to spy on his brothers, creating this hostility and division within the family. Now there's favorite boy number two. Why is he the favorite boy? Because he's Joseph's brother, the second son of Rachel. There's only two boys born of Rachel. Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph's gone. Benjamin is left. The only living link to that favored wife of his is now Benjamin because Joseph's gone. Remember Jacob had four wives. He had Leah, that was the first one. He didn't want her but he got her, you remember, through Laban. He got Zilpah, Bilhah, handmaids that became his wife and bore children, but the girl he fell in love with, love at first sight, was Rachel. He loved her and he worked so hard for her. The Bible says those seven years and then seven more years were but a day because of the love that he had for her. Just, it's like, whatever. I love her so much I don't care how much I have to work. She's gone. The only living link left is Benjamin so he gets favored child status. Boys, go down to Egypt, but not Benjamin. I believe this is a mistake. You see, when Joseph was around, Joseph was the favored child but dad let him run around, right? Like, go find your brothers, they're pasturing some fifty miles from here, just go and say hi to them, bring them some food, see how they're doing. He let his son go out and have freedom. He's keeping this kid at home, not even letting him travel to Egypt lest something happen to him. Here's the mistake and it happens when something happens in a family, like an accident or a death of a child, with the children that are left, the parent, in wanting to protect, will overprotect, will completely box in, because they want to protect all that they have left is bound up in that one child, and I believe it's a mistake. He's smothering his son. Verse 5: "And the sons of Israel went to buy grain among those who journeyed, for the famine was in the land of Canaan." Ok, I want to give you just a little bit of a topography lesson, if you don't mind, and geography lesson. If there was famine in Egypt, there was severe famine in Canaan. Now I want to explain that. And if you have a map in the back of your Bible, you can look at the Fertile Crescent, you can follow Israel down as it curves and the sea line curves toward the left and you enter into the Nile delta. You see, the Nile delta had a consistent yearly flooding that took place. It would swell and the waters would predictably run its banks. They would take that water and they would funnel it out into rivulets around the area and grow their grain. It was known as the breadbasket of the world. It happened every year. Well, apparently since the Nile begins inland in Africa, there must not have been enough rains to cause that swelling to take place like it normally did. Well if there's no rain in that region, then Canaan, or the land of Israel, is even worse because there is no major river that everybody drinks out of. There's the Jordan River, but I mean it's like in many places a quarter the size of the Rio Grande. First time I saw the Jordan River, my tour guide said now don't blink we're going over the bridge. Keep your eyes fixed. And we went over this little stream and he said that was the mighty Jordan River. I thought you've gotta be kidding. Why do you call it a river? It's a stream! Israel, the land that God would bring the children of Israel into from Egypt, God said is different than the land of Egypt. Now keep all these thoughts going. Don't lose me here. Turn with me to Deuteronomy chapter 11 for just a moment. It'll come together. Deuteronomy chapter 11 verses 10 and 11. Just two verses. Deuteronomy chapter 11 beginning in verse 10: "For the land which you go to possess is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you sowed your seed and watered it by foot, as a vegetable garden;" You're going, watered it by foot? No, it must be a typo. It meant watered it by hand--no watered it by foot. They had these machines back then like pedal bicycles that would pump the water into these little streams to divert it and in pumping the water, it would go into their fields and flood their fields and so they would use foot pumps. You used the annual swelling of the Nile River to grow your crops when you were in Egypt as a vegetable garden, "but the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys," it's not a delta. "Hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of heaven". See the difference? In Egypt, the water source was the Nile; in Canaan, the land of Israel, the only real water source is gonna be rain collected from heaven. So no rain--no life. No rain--no food. It's good to remember that as we're going through it. It makes more sense and it will even help when we get to passages like Deuteronomy 28 and 29 where God says to the children of Israel: when I bring you into the land of Canaan, if you love Me, if you honor Me, if you obey Me, the blessing that I will give you is rain from heaven. If you don't, I will withhold the rain so that you won't have food. They were totally contingent, absolutely dependent upon God. Well if there's famine in the land of Egypt, then you gotta know where Jacob and his kids are, there's a severe famine. If there's no rain there, there's no water. So you just got a picture now of caravans over the Sinai desert and over the Suez desert on their way to Egypt and among them are the sons of Jacob. Verse 6: "Now Joseph was governor over the land; and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth." What was going through Joseph's mind when those brothers were bowing down to him? A dream. A dream twenty-one years earlier. This looks familiar. It's what I saw in my dream, those sheaves all bowing down. But that was followed up by a second dream. That's why he knew this wasn't the fulfillment, really, of it. because the second dream showed the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars, not ten, eleven stars. So he knew one's missing--and another. His dad has to be there. Also, his younger brother Benjamin has to also appear because the dream had eleven stars. There were only ten. But that dream flashed in his mind as they start bowing to the earth. We're getting into some of the best chapters in the Bible. And let me give you a theme. One of the themes you're gonna find in this and the next several chapters as Joseph and his brothers meet once again. It's the theme of forgiveness. You know, forgiveness is what separates the men from the boys in relationships. When you can look eye-to-eye at somebody who has hurt you like this and truly love them and truly forgive them and not act all put off and all aloof and all, like, mad and stuff... you've passed a great test. You see, it's easy to love people who love you. I like that guy--he always says I'm cool. Anybody, any heathen, can do that. The worst person can do that. Anybody who gets a pat of encouragement will respond. But what do you do when someone opposes you, oppresses you, or does you wrong? That's why Jesus said you've heard that it was said you shall love your friends and hate your enemies. I say unto you love your enemies. Do good to those who hurt you. Pray for those who spitefully use you. Bless those who curse you. That separates the minor leagues from the big leagues. You're gonna see that here. Joseph won't hold anything back. Now it might seem at first that he is, but you'll see that when he acts gruff toward them, this is simply a test. This is a test. It is merely a test. He's reeling them in to see if they'll pass his series of tests. They'll be three meetings that will show those tests. Verse 7: "Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them. Then he said to them, "Where do you come from?" And they said, "From the land of Canaan to buy food." So Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him." They couldn't have recognized Joseph. I mean, they might've looked at the face and said those features seem familiar, but it had been 21 years. He was just a teenager when that happened. They wouldn't have changed quite as much as he would've changed from 17 years or 21 years previous to him being 17 years of age. What would that make him? 38? Number two, he's an Egyptian now. He's wearing Egyptian robes. His head is completely shaven. His face is shaven and because he's nobility, he would've worn a goatee, a fake goatee. Egyptian men were given these goatees, they made them out of horsehair and they lacquered them and made them stiff and they came down and they would fix them to their chins. They just thought that was super cool. I dig your goatee, man, where'd you get it? I like it better than mine. They were all into this. That was their fashion. So because he's made up like this, he speaks Egyptian, he knows it fluently, he knows the culture and the custom, they wouldn't have recognized him in his robes, in his get-up, with his language. And it says, notice, he spoke roughly to them. Ok, now go back. Go back in time and think how roughly they treated him 21 years prior. Now he's roughing them up--not physically, just verbally. He's just acting tough. And he's not doing it for any retribution sake. It's a test. Let's see how they react to this test. I'm gonna talk to them abruptly. Have they changed? These brothers of mine? Is there any remorse at all in their heart for what they've done? What about Benjamin? Is he even still alive? Did they treat him like they have treated me? He doesn't know the answer to those questions so he's testing them just to see where they're at. Verse 9: "Then Joseph remembered the dreams which he had dreamed about them, and said to them, "You are spies! You have come to see the nakedness of the land!" So he acts suspicious. Now there's something you gotta know. It was protocol to act suspicious. It was protocol to act suspicious because when there's a famine in the world and you're like the only game in town holding grain, you have to be worried about your borders that are vulnerable, that are porous. And the land of Canaan was the most porous border at the time. They're wondering are people trying to sneak over here? Am I going to feed their armies and are they gonna come and take over the land of Egypt? So it was protocol to act suspicious. What's interesting is if you ever travel anywhere in the Middle East today, they still act suspicious. It's hard to get into Israel. Try to board an El-Al flight for Tel-Aviv. You'll be interrogated, in America, thirty minutes to an hour sometimes. Not like our little, you know, checking your boarding pass. They will: why are you here? Who are you with? Who's your father? They start asking a number of questions. And if I say well I've been to Israel 32 times. Red flag: why?! Why are you going back? You say it you're with a group. Point out the group to me. How many are in there? Do you know them personally? How long have you known them? It's because of the security issue. It's always been a volatile place. Here's another little story. I was trying to get into Jordan one time when they were not having friendly relations with Israel. Just, it borders, just across the Jordan River is Jordan from Israel. I am flying into Amman, Jordan. I'm flying in with Franklin Graham and Dennis Agajanian, the world's tallest cowboy. As I go into Amman, Jordan, I didn't have the presence of mind. I had a single passport at the time instead of two like I carry now. I had one and it had Israel stamped seventeen times in it. So I go to the passport control, they look at my passport, they flip the pages, they look at me, they flip the pages, they close the passport, hand it to me, and said you will take the next plane out of the country. You're not allowed in our country. Why? You've traveled to Israel. That's it. So I thought I'm toast and Franklin tries to vouch for me and this doesn't matter. I don't care who you are. Finally, get this: Dennis Agajanian steps up like a cowboy, in Jordan, in an Islamic country, pulls out his San Clemente chaplain's badge, that's all, just a little, has a big cross on it, and he goes, I'm a law enforcement officer, sir, I'll take this man into custody and I'm going oh great, this is, that's so stupid. I'm going that's so lame. I'm rolling my eyes. The guy looks at Dennis, looks at the badge, looks at Dennis, looks at the badge, he goes, Ok, you come. I kid you not. I got in the country because of Dennis. My point is: they're very suspicious. So he accuses them. You've come to see the nakedness of the land! He's testing their hearts, finding out what they, what about their past and what they've been up to. Are they trustworthy? And of course he would act this way. You see, people who sell brothers into slavery usually aren't trustworthy. I don't know. It's just something. So he's very suspicious and rightfully so. So he retains that power over them until the right moment. Verse 10: "And they said to him, "No, my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. We are all one man's sons; we are honest men; your servants are not spies." Now Joseph has to be like choking inside, laughing inside. We are honest men! It's so hard to put on this show, this act for them. "But he said to them, "No, but you have come to see the nakedness of the land." And they said, "Your servants are twelve brothers, the son of one man in the land of Canaan; and in fact, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no more." Who would that be? Yeah, that would be Joseph. They have no idea who they're talking to. He that speaketh to thee am he, right? As Jesus said to the woman in Samaria. "But Joseph said to them, "It is as I spoke to you, saying, 'You are spies!' In this manner you shall be tested: By the life of Pharaoh, you shall not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here." Again, he acts gruffly, roughly. He's opening a wound--on purpose. He's opening the wound of the past to see what kind of conscience they have, to awaken their conscience to what they have done. Listen. His brothers were scoundrels. Just go back just remember it was the brothers of Joseph, the sons of Jacob, who killed, slaughtered, all the Shechemites, remember that story? It was Judah, one of the brothers, who went looking for a prostitute and slept with his daughter-in-law. These are scoundrels. So he's treating them as scoundrels. Now notice it says by the life of Pharaoh. This is an oath he's taking in Pharaoh's name. Why would he do that? Well it would, once again, mask his identity to them further. What if he were to say I swear by your God the only true and living God? They would go ahh... you're Egyptian? So he's taking a very common oath by the name of Pharaoh, by the life of Pharaoh. Verse 16: "Send one of you, and let him bring your brother; and you shall be kept in prison, that your words may be tested to see whether there is any truth in you; or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies!" So he put them all together in prison three days." Now the word prison literally means custody. They didn't necessarily have to be behind bars. They were just kept, sequestered, alone, no freedom, for three days. A lot of time to think. A lot of time to process. All the while Joseph must have been thinking I wonder how they're gonna take this. I wonder what they're gonna come up with. I wonder what they're gonna say in the midst of this test. It's absolutely fascinating. "Then Joseph said to them the third day, "Do this and live, for I fear God." Ok, that's a red light. That should've been he's dropping a hint now. I fear God. It seems to just go... right over their heads. "If you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined to your prison house; but you, go and carry grain for the famine of your houses. And bring your youngest brother to me;" I'm sure he couldn't wait to see Benjamin. His flesh brother. His blood brother. "So your words will be verified, and you shall not die." And they... "And they did so. Then they said to one another," they said to one another." Now listen. They're gonna have a little conversation. It's like they rally. They get together and they talk. They're talking out loud not knowing Joseph understands Hebrew, even though he's speaking to them, you will see it, he's speaking in Egyptian with an interpreter but now they're just sort of processing this in Hebrew not knowing Joseph hears and understands every word they're saying. "They said to one another, "We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us." They're referring back 21 years prior to what happened with Joseph. "And Reuben answered them, saying, "Did I not speak to you, saying, 'Do not sin against the boy'; and you would not listen? Therefore behold, his blood is now required of us." It's starting to work. They're processing their treatment of Joseph. They're going oh man, 20 plus years ago, do you remember that? God's getting us back for that! They're distressed over it. Now you see the repetition of the word we and us? It's emphatic, I read, in the Hebrew. It's emphatic. We and we alone! It's like we're getting busted by God. He's singling us out here. It's an admission of their guilt. Now I say it's working because to admit your guilt is always the first step. You'd be surprised how long a person can go and not be able to say it's my fault or I'm sorry. I'm the one. They just have all sorts, well, you know if she wouldn't have done that, then, of course what I said probably wasn't proper, however. There's always an excuse. But to admit you're wrong is always the first step in healing and reconciliation and forgiveness. Proverbs chapter 28 verse 13, some of you know it, he who covers his sin will not prosper but whoever confesses and forsakes them will find mercy. Confess. Now confess means more than just admit. It means to agree and when you make a confession to God you are agreeing with God and saying what You say about my sin, I also say the same thing. I'm agreeing with what You're calling this, Lord. Instead of just saying it was just, um, a mistake. It was just a slip-up. It was just--no. Lord, it was sinful. It was wrong. That's what you say about it. I'm agreeing with You. And so they're admitting their guilt. Verse 21: "We are truly guilty concerning our brother". Now some people will say now why do I need to confess anything to God since God is all-knowing? He knows it anyway. Why would I ever inform God about what He already knows? Because He wants to hear you say it. He wants to hear you admit it. That's what confession is all about. Now something else. It's been 20 years plus, 21 years, and their conscience, they've been burying it, they've been hiding it, they've not processed it until now. but now that wound is opened up again and it shows they're still guilty. There's still remorse they've never dealt with. You've ever heard the saying time heals all wounds? That's a lie. Sometimes you can stuff behavior and feelings down so far and never deal with it--but you should deal with it. you should deal with it the right way. Sin causes you to hold on to that load of guilt. It's not healthy. Verse 23: "But they did not know," now they're talking out loud, "they did not know that Joseph understood them, for he spoke to them through an interpreter." He's speaking fluent Egyptian to an Egyptian interpreter. He's speaking Egyptian, the interpreter would say something to the Hebrews in their language, then the brothers would speak and then he would interpret it back in Hebrew. So they're totally faked out. Verse 24: "And he turned himself away from them and wept. Then he returned to them again, and talked with them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes." Ok, this is the first of six emotional statements like this. Six times in this story in Genesis, Joseph will weep. He weeps here, when he sees Benjamin he's gonna weep again, when he reveals himself to his brother he's gonna weep again, when he sees his fathers, brothers, he'll weep, when he sees his father, he'll weep, when he sees his father's death, he'll weep, and when he assures his brothers of forgiveness toward the very end, he'll weep again. Six times he'll weep. Wow! After all he's gone through, after all the emotional scarring, after all of the years of neglect, and then sudden prosperity, you would think that those are enough experiences to sort of, kind of toughen one's skin and not be moved by much. I'm impressed that he was emotionally moved. And I like it. I honestly, I see a man weeping. Maybe I say that because I found myself the last few years becoming weepier and it bothered me at first. Little things, it would, you know, just somebody would tell me something that was sad and I'd just start crying, and they'd go something in your eye? Yeah--tears. I'm actually crying. Oh! When I held my grandson the first day, just blubbered my way through. When I picked him up the second day, same effect. I'm getting better but... now it says that he took Simeon, verse 24, from them and bound him before their eyes. By the way, what makes you weep is a test of your character. When you weep for yourself or, you know, I have a friend who's a preacher back in Chicago. He tells an interesting story, James MacDonald, Dr. James MacDonald, great guy. He was having a conversation with another buddy, Alistair Begg, and they were talking about hell, hell came up. And he said to Alistair, he goes, you know what, there's people tonight, today, right now, in hell! And Alistair Begg, in his Scottish brogue said, Aye! But can you say it without a tear in your eye? Can you say it without a tear in your eye? It's a test of character what makes you weep. He sees his brothers, he can't contain it, he steals himself away, he weeps, he puts his Egyptian makeup, goatee back on, goes in, looks really cool, and why does he make Simeon the hostage? You see, logically you would think he would take the oldest, Reuben, and tie him up. But he doesn't tie up the eldest who's the head of the family at this point representatively. He ties up Simeon--number two. Couple of reasons. Number one, it was Reuben who 21 years prior told his brothers, don't do this, don't do this, let him go, this is not good form, stop it. They didn't listen to him. He left, and when he left and came back, Reuben came back; Joseph had already been sold to the Midianites. Simeon was number two which means he was in charge. He was probably the one that arranged it. So now Joseph gets to watch Simeon ride a little bit. Squirm a little bit as he's tied up. There's a Scripture in the book of Romans chapter 11 verse 22. Just I want you to think of this. Maybe even look at it later. Paul said in Romans 11: now consider the goodness and the severity of God. Interesting combination. The goodness and severity. Here's Joseph being good to his brothers. He's gonna give them grain, give them their money back, reveal himself, take care of them eventually. He's gonna do good but he's being severe. He's being severe because the result of the goodness and severity will be reconciliation and restoration. That'll be the result. Goodness and severity. Restoration; reconciliation. Remember that next time God allows something to come in your life that you particularly don't like. It's severe. Consider the severity and the goodness of the Lord and why He might be doing it and how all things can work together. Synergize together for your good. Verse 25, we'll make it, "Then Joseph gave a command to fill their sacks with grain, to restore every man's money to his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey. Thus he did for them. So they loaded their donkeys with grain and departed from there. But as one of them opened his sack to give his donkey feed at the encampment, he saw his money; and there it was, in the mouth of his sack." You see that word encampment? Can I just throw something out to you that I think might be helpful when you get to the New Testament? It's sometimes translated inn. Encampment; inn. Remember when Jesus was in the womb of Mary and Joseph and Mary were on the way to Bethlehem and there was no room in the inn? Same idea. Encampment. It was a caravansary where caravans would stop, animals would feed in the middle of a courtyard, and people would just stay around their animals in little lean-tos. that's all it was. It wasn't a nice hotel, didn't have a pool, didn't have a Jacuzzi, wasn't a Holiday Inn. It was a caravansary. It was an encampment. There wasn't even room at the animal encampment. That's why they sought a cave, a manger, where animals were kept. Well they open up the sacks and they notice that the money's still in the mouth of the sack. Joseph had given their money back. He gave it back. Here's probably what happened. Joseph paid for it himself out of his own money, put their money back in the sack, now why would he do that? They're gonna get all paranoid. Why would he do that? Because Joseph knows they're gonna need it for the next trip. They'll be back. He wants them back. He doesn't know how much money they have. They may have used everything to get there and buy grain. He's giving them money so they can come back, making provision for their next journey. "So he said to his brothers," after he finds the money, "My money has been restored, and there it is, in my sack!" Now he's saying it like that because it says, "Then their hearts failed them and they were afraid, saying to one another, "What is this that God has done to us?" Ok, this is a bit weird. It's not typically the right response. You know, if you went to the grocery store and you paid out your money and then you got home and unloaded all the groceries and you found like $300 wadded up put in the sack with a little note, would you go, huh! God what have I done? You might go well it was either a mistake or praise God! Guilt. Listen, guilt turns blessings into distress. They couldn't enjoy. His brother gave him a blessing. Pharaoh's second-hand man gave him a blessing. They can't enjoy the blessing because that's what guilt does. It ruins blessings from God. You can't even enjoy them. It turns blessings into distress. It robs us of joy. It turns joy into misery. It aroused a sense of shame in them. Now notice they mention God here. This is, by the way, the very first time in this whole scenario that these brothers are talking God talk. They're really spiritual lately. But their view of God is warped. Their view of God is He's vengeful. He's retributive. He's not blessing, He's not giving, He's not loving. Their view of God is seen through their view of themselves. That's how many people see. Their God is like they are. That's what idolatry is. They concocted God in their own minds and they worship that God. What an unfortunate god they've concocted. So they're all paranoid. One preacher said love your enemies, it'll drive them nuts. It will! They won't know what to do. Someone at work, someone in your family giving you a hard time, go out of your way to show lavish love on them. It will drive them crazy. And it'll just be so fun to watch. "Then they went to Jacob their father in the land of Canaan and told him all that had happened to them, saying, "The man who is lord of the land spoke roughly to us," poor babies, "and took us for spies of the country. But we said to him, 'We are honest men;" again, I see Dad rolling his old eyes, "We are not spies. We are twelve brothers, sons of our father; one is no more, and the youngest is with our father this day in the land of Canaan. Then the man, the lord of the country, said to us, 'By this I will know that you are honest men: leave one of your brothers here with me, take food for the famine of your households, and be gone. And bring your youngest brother to me; so I shall know that you are not spies, but that you are honest men. I will grant your brother to you, and you may trade in the land.'" Then it happened as they emptied their sacks, that surprisingly each man's bundle of money was in his sack; and when they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid. And Jacob their father said to them, "You have bereaved me: Joseph is no more, Simeon is no more, and you want to take Benjamin. All these things are against me." Ok this tells me something. This tells me that people change but not that much. People change but not that much. Jacob is still Jacob. It's still all about Jacob! This sounds like Jacob back in Shechem. When his brothers killed the Shechemites he goes, you guys have, like, ruined my reputation! You're worried about your reputation with dead people all around you? It's all about him. He hasn't changed that much. Crisis doesn't make a man--it shows what a man is made of. This is what Jacob is made of. Would Joseph ever had said this, by the way? Would Joseph, his son, ever have said this? All things are against me! No, he would've said, you know, this is hard and I don't get and this really has been a long trial but I know God's in control. Dad is one way; Joseph, his son, is another way. Jacob is still Jacob but allow me to give you hope. You don't have to follow in the footsteps of your mother or father if they haven't been a good example. You don't have to say well you know my dad was always like that, that's just why I am that way. You don't have to be that way. Not an excuse. Jacob was one way; Joseph is totally a different way. Jacob is still Jacob. It also tells me that Jacob's not over his son's death. Now a parent is never over a son or daughter's death--ever. But there's a healthy way to be moving on. It seems like he never moved on. He's bringing this up and holding his brothers responsible, it seems like maybe he knew something was up. When my brother died and my family grieved and we put it behind us, my mother never did. For years and years she would never have a picture or a memento of my brother Bob in the house. It was as if he didn't exist. It was too painful for her. And it was like that for years until one of my aunts came to visit and took my mom aside and said now listen carefully. I love you. And I know that you miss your son Bob. But you can't treat his memory like this or do this to your other sons. You need to put his picture up. You need to get through this. You need to face this head-on and move on. It was one of the best things she ever did. It helped her tremendously and it was healing for the family. I think Jacob is still living with that past--deep scar--and never moved through it. "Then Reuben spoke to his father, saying," now listen to this. I'll just say it right out: I think it's stupid. Reuben said to his father, saying, "Kill my two sons if I do not bring him back to you". Oh yeah, that would really go over well with your wife and your sons. "And I will bring him back to you." But he said, "My son shall not go down with you, for his brother is dead, and he is left alone. If any calamity should befall him along the way in which you go, then you would bring down my gray hair with sorrow to the grave." That's a stupid, foolhardy suggestion. Ok, I'm sure he's sure of himself. Don't worry; I'll take care of it. In fact, here... oftentimes in ancient times they would make these wild oaths. I swear by my head, I swear by my mother's this, I swear. They would make these elaborate... that's why Jesus came along and said don't swear at all! Neither by heaven nor by earth for it is God's footstool, heaven is God's throne, nor by the hairs of your head. But let your yes be yes and your no be no. Just be honest. Just be full of integrity. So next week we'll see the meeting, the meeting with Benjamin, the second meeting with the brothers and then the third. Ok none of this would've happened unless there was a famine in the land. Just keep in mind the purpose that God had for Joseph's life. Why did Joseph, why was he allowed to be sold as a slave by, why was he allowed to be a slave in Potiphar's house, why was he allowed to be falsely accused and put in jail, why was he allowed, why? Well now we're understanding it. To save the world from a famine--number one. Number two, to bring Israel, the children of Israel, down into Egypt. And for hundreds of years be nurtured in the land of Goshen where they could grow. And to preserve, moreover, most importantly, preserve the lineage for the Messiah. Talk about purpose! God has a purpose for your life. Some of you are sweating it out and wondering about that purpose and it's so difficult and you're going to Romans 8:28 and say most things work together for good to those that love God and are called... some things work together for good. Last time I checked it still says all. Let that be a soft pillow for your tired heart.