- Sermon Notes
Tears of Joy
Intro: A surprise vehicle.
This week we will look again at the life of Joseph, how he continued to live and how he finished. As he is reunited to his brothers, and then his father. Joseph had a complex history, he was sold into slavery by his brothers who were jealous of him, falsely accused by the wife of his master, imprisoned, forgotten, and then brought out of prison and placed as prime minister, or second in command in all of Egypt.
Joseph had interpreted a dream for the king that there would be seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine. Ultimately, he is made administrator of the plan, and given great authority in Egypt.
With Joseph in charge, there was food stored up during the seven years of plenty. So much food was stored up that it was countless. When the famine began, it hit the entire earth hard. Surrounding countries were running out of food and people began journeying to Egypt to visit Joseph and ask for food.
That is where the brothers come back into the story. When the famine ravages the land, Josephs father Jacob heard word that there was grain in Egypt and sent his ten brothers to go there to purchase grain. When Josephs brothers were brought before him to buy food, the buried emotions from the last 15 plus years welled up within him. Joseph disguised himself before his brothers and asked questions about his family and father.
After their request for grain, Joseph sent the brothers back to Canaan where his father was, in order to bring back Benjamin, the brother who shared the same mother and father with Joseph. In order ensure they brought back Benjamin, Joseph kept Simeon hostage. When they return with Benjamin, Joseph plants a silver goblet in the sack of Benjamin in order to accuse him of theft. As Joseph makes this accusation, and that he must keep Benjamin, his brother Judah objects because of the grief it would cause their father. Not wanting to grieve their father further, Joseph breaks and reveals his identity to his brothers.
Read Genesis 45:1-15
Rather than reigning down judgement on his brothers, Joseph chooses to reconcile and show amazing character by recognizing God’s hand in the outcome of his life. History Joseph could not be changed, but Joseph could change the way he viewed it.
After revealing himself embracing his brothers and weeping, Joseph sends his brothers back home to bring his father and their entire family to Egypt. Joseph is finally reunited with his father where tears of joy come streaming down as he embraces his father whom he had been apart from for many years. The depth of emotion came flooding out as Joseph nd is embraced by his father.
As Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, they expect anger and vengeance to flow, but Joseph assures them, that they need not worry because of their past sins, the Lord had a plan and was using him to make a way for their entire family.
Faced with a situation like this, most would take the opportunity to share what the past 15 years had been like. What it was like being enslaved, falsely accused imprisoned and forgotten. In those times, it would even be an accepted cultural norm to do to another as they had done to you and even worse.
Rather than take the opportunity to pay them back, Joseph revealed to them his heart and perspective of the past.
I. Choose a Redemptive Perspective
- The story of Joseph’s life is filled with many choices. After each circumstance and situation, Joseph had a choice to make. Each day within each circumstance,
he had a choice to make.
- How would he handle the difficulties that he faced?
- The choices he made in pursuing integrity and righteousness in difficulty, prepared him for continuing in integrity and righteousness in victory.
- God granted him the privilege of a redemptive perspective. He recognized that the Lord was at work in it all and had placed him there in Egypt for a greater purpose (vs. 8).
A. Look back through the lens of God’s purpose
- He no longer looked back at what was with pain, bitterness or anger. He chose to look back through the lens of God’s divine purpose.
Illus. Escape rooms.
- Joseph was now able to understand the seasons and signs that led him to his current place.
- History was something that Joseph was unable to change, but he could change how he viewed it.
Illus. Understanding a teacher’s heart.
- When I went through it, I didn’t quite get it. Feeling singled out and pressed hard. What I understood later, and understand now, was that I was being
encouraged to aim higher.
Hebrews 12:11, All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
- In difficulty, we have a choice to make. Sometimes things are done to us that are outside of our control. Sometimes, we make choices that place us
in our predicament. In both situations, we have the opportunity to try and find God’s purpose.
- Joseph had a choice to make as he faced his brothers. Would he adhere to the saying “what goes around comes around,” and humble his brothers?
B. Let forgiveness come back around
- There are times where we will misapply scripture to a situation when we want to settle a grievance personally. “Exodus 21:24-25 Reads, “eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, burn for burn, wound for wound, burn for burn.”
- Please know that in the times this law was introduced, it was introduced to be used in the context of a case being judged before a judge, or civil
- It was a guiding principle for law givers. There is actually no record of this being followed literally in scripture. And it most certainly was not
to be used to settle personal issues.
- Sometimes we can use this to make personal revenge acceptable. If someone punched you, punch them back, if you were insulted, insult back.
- Jesus addressed this.
Matthew 5:38-41, “You have heard that is was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right check, turn the other to him also. If anyone want to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.”
- This means that what goes around doesn’t come back around, at least not if we are pursuing a right response.
Illus. Roman soldiers could force citizen of Israel or any foreigner to carry their backpacks for a mile. If they refused, they would be beaten. There were mile markers on the street and the Roman soldiers could interrupt whatever a person was doing and make them carry their heavy pack. Jews hated Romans and this added to their disdain.
1 Peter 3:8-9, To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were call for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
- A blessing is exactly what Joseph received. He could have either let the unfair treatment at the hand of his brothers ruin him, or let it be the catalyst
to move him closer to responding the way the Lord would have him respond.
Genesis 49:22-24, Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall. With bitterness archers attacked him; they shot at him with hostility. But his bow remained steady, his strong arms remained limber…
II. Remain Firm in Faith
- Through all his troubles, Josephs strength is compared to a bow that remained steady.
- His faith, it did not fail, he stood strong and came through it all victoriously.
- His bow remained steady, his arms remained strong and limber. Ultimately, Joseph was resolved to stand firm in faith.
- Joseph held onto his bow, he did not fire back, he did not waver, he maintained his integrity, knowing that God was always with him.
- Jacob said that Joseph was a fruitful vine near a spring. His life became fruitful as he remained near the Lord, his source and spring.
A. Make God your source
- The Lord becomes our source when we remain in and rely on Him.
John 15:5, 8, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing… My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”
- Let God be the spring of the water of life, and the fruitfulness will even extend over the wall so others can enjoy the fruits of your blessing as
Illus – The branches of fruit hanging over the wall is representative of his sons, who will be fruitful for the generations to come.
- Joseph powerfully displayed steadfast faith and trust in the Lord, making a way for the generations to come, providing evidence of a fruitful life
for those that would follow.
- Others shot at him, Joseph remained firm. He was attacked, he did not attack back.
- He could have repaid everyone for what they had done, but he didn’t.
- Know the scene with his brothers, can you imagine what Potiphar’s wife must have gone through when Joseph came into power?
John 4:14, “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”
B. Reflect Christ
- At the end of Joseph’s life, after his father dies, Joseph’s brothers again become worried. They became worried that he was holding a grudge.
- Joseph remains true to form by responding this way, “do not be afraid, for am I in God place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
- Joseph could be seen as a type of Christ, who was shot at and hated, but who bore up under his sufferings and made a way for the generations to follow
and redeemed His people.
- With the power to condemn and convict, He chose grace and mercy.
Jesus was loved by his father, hated by his brothers, betrayed, sold for silver, made a servant, tempted but without sin, falsely accused and made no defense, placed in prison, and endured an unjust punishment. Despite it all, He gave grace and mercy, making a way for all who rejected him, all who denied him he forgave and he does not waver in his forgiveness.
He made a way for the generations to follow, just as Joseph did in his life. Jesus, the greater than Joseph has made a way for you and for my, by His blood that was shed on the cross. His life, as payment, for us.
As Joseph meets his father, tears of joy and healing flow from the depths of his heart. With tears, and a long embrace, years of pent up affection and time lost as Joseph is reunited with his father. The past was behind, Joseph was “home.”
Psalm 30:11 “You have turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.”
Genesis 45:1-15 NASB