After a two-week break, today we are getting back to our story of Joseph. We began looking at the life of Joseph back in May, so we’ve already covered a large portion of his story. By this point, we’ve worked through most of the Sunday school stories that are usually associated with Joseph.
We’ve talked about how he was his dad’s favourite and how he had that beautiful coat of many colours that gave him special status far above his brothers.
We’ve talked about how his brothers hated him and how they sold him as a slave into Egypt when he was just 17 years old.
We’ve talked about how, even as a slave, he prospered in the home of his Egyptian master, Potiphar, and rose to to be the head of the whole house. We also talked about how he stood up for what was right when he refused to sleep with Potiphar’s wife and ended up being falsely accused and thrown into prison because of that.
We also talked about his dreams. You’ll remember that he had those dreams way back before his brother’s sold him as a slave – dreams that seemed to indicate that one day he would rule over his entire family.
But not only did Jospeh have these dreams about his future, he also also interpreted the dreams of others. While he was in the prison in Egypt, he interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh’s chief cup-bearer and his chief baker. Both of those interpretations came true – the baker was executed and the cup-bearer returned to work for Pharaoh – just as Joseph had predicted.
And it was through that cup-bearer that Joseph was called on to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. You’ll recall how God had warned Pharaoh through dreams of cows and grain that there would be 7 years of great prosperity in Egypt, but afterwards, that prosperity would be followed by 7 years of terrible famine.
Of course, when Joseph explained to Pharaoh what his dreams meant, Pharaoh recognized Joseph’s God-given wisdom and He put Joseph in charge of the entire land of Egypt – giving him full authority to collect grain throughout Egypt during the 7 good years and then to distribute it to everyone during the 7 bad years.
And that almost brings us to where we left off. Just before we ended last time, we saw Joseph’s brothers actually come to Egypt to buy food – because they were facing the same famine as everyone else. Of course, they had no idea that Jospeh was alive – let alone that he was the 2nd most powerful man in all of Egypt and they had to buy food from him!
So when they showed up, they didn’t recognize Joseph, but Joseph recognized them. Taking advantage of the situation, Joseph decided to put them to the test to see what kind of men his brothers had become in the 20 years since they had sold him as a slave. So he accused them of being spies and he threw them all in prison for three days. After those three days, he told them that one of them had to remain in prison while the others could go home and take food back for their families. But they had to return with their younger brother, Benjamin, to prove that they were not spies, and that their story about having a younger brother at home with their father was indeed true.
So we ended last time with Joseph sending his 9 brothers home, still with no idea that they had been dealing with their long lost brother Joseph, and with a strict warning not to return to Egypt unless they had their younger brother, Benjamin, with them.
So off they went, with Simeon left behind in prison. Joseph supplied them with food and supplies for the journey. He also secretly returned the money that they had paid for everything – and snuck it back into their sacks of grain.
And that’s just where we’ll pick it up today. The 9 brothers have just started their journey home and we read in Genesis chapter 42, verse 27….