WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday January 15, 2012
(GOD always works out HIS plan)
After the predicted seven-year famine had begun, people from all over the world came to Egypt to obtain the grain that they desperately needed in order to feed their families and livestock, and Joseph’s brothers were among those supplicants who came.
In Genesis chapters 42-44, we saw a strange sequence of events, where Joseph engaged in a series of cruel games with his brothers who did not recognize who he was, at that time. These ploys were aimed at drawing them and his entire family into the protective aegis of his newly acquired Egyptian kingdom. Joseph’s follies are also clearly being used here to test his brothers’ sincerity, and to compel them to search their consciences for a reason why the LORD had plunged them into such an unusual predicament with him, the ruler of Egypt.
In Genesis 44:1-26, we see a final test is perpetrated upon Joseph’s older brothers that would seemingly put their younger brother, Benjamin, into jeopardy of becoming a slave to Joseph in Egypt. This was the test that ultimately revealed to Joseph the spiritual transformations that had taken place in his brothers, especially Judah, since they had sold him into slavery 15 years earlier. Judah, whose flaws had been revealed to us back in chapter 38, now shows that he has been purged of the jealousy that he once held toward Joseph. He now seems to be more concerned with his father Jacob’s grief, than he is with the consequences that might befall himself. Here Joseph is able to see, perhaps for the first time, that, he is not the only son of Jacob that GOD is working with.
Here in Genesis 45:1-15, after being deeply moved by Judah’s plea for Benjamin’s freedom (Genesis 44:18-34), Joseph stuns his brothers by revealing to them his true identity. Now, for the third time, Joseph weeps for his brothers as they stood in fear of what he might do to them, in retaliation for their mistreatment of him, when they sold him to the Ishmaelite travelers as a slave. However, their expectations of tearful revenge, turned out to be only tears of reconciliation and love for a family that Joseph had sorely missed for about half of his young life.
Joseph then explained to them how GOD had exalted him to power in Egypt, in order that he might be used to help preserve the “Abrahamic Covenant Promise”, by saving the family from the death-grip of the seven-year famine. He assured his frightened brothers that it was not them who sent him to Egypt, but rather, it was GOD shaping the way in order to fulfill HIS OWN divine purpose.
Bringing reconciliation to a situation where hurt has been both given, and received, invariably calls for confession by the offender. Then too, the person who is offended must also be willing to forgive. We see here in Joseph’s case, that, not only was he willing to forgive his brothers, he was also willing to share his blessings with them, despite the fact that they were his offenders.
The events in the life of Joseph that are chronicled in these chapters of Genesis, show us how, both Joseph, and, his brothers, were all being prepared by GOD for a divine reconciliation and reunion of HIS chosen family. And no matter how bad things may appear to be, or, how dark our society may become, GOD will always preserve the righteous among HIS people.
Whenever we call upon a just GOD, from across the storms of life, HE is faithful to come to us with HIS loving hands stretched out in an offering to “save”. Since the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it has been a promise of the ALMIGHTY GOD, that HE would always preserve a remnant of the righteous to carry on HIS benevolent plan and purpose of salvation.
The great King David once wrote, “The steps of the GODly are directed by the LORD. HE delights in every detail of their lives. And though they stumble, they will not fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand. Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the GODly forsaken, nor have I seen their children begging for bread” (Psalm 37:23-25 – NLT).
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
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