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THE TIMES IN WHICH WE LIVE

Ten years ago, if someone told me that I would be living in such a time like this, I would say to them they were joking. I would probably do this because I did not realize the magnitude and extent of the trouble that the world would be in, as foretold in Matthews 24.

Our world is in turmoil, and our country may be on the brink of a civil war. I surely did not think ten years ago that American citizens would storm into the national capital building looking to capture and assassinate elected officials while many others defaced the building. I did not think a domestic terrorist would be planning an armed protest at all 50 state capitols in the days before January 20, 2021. I did not believe American citizens would go to the upcoming presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., with evil intent.  Most of all, I would not think the United States president over his four-year tenure would radicalize his most fringe supporters.

This is the times in which we live. Consequently, for peaceful citizens, these happenings and the fall-out from the pandemic has caused many hearts to fail. I wish I could say things will get better, but I know according to the times in which we live, it won’t.

Matthew 24:8 in three different translations states as follows:

All these are the beginning of sorrows. (KJV)

All these are the beginning of birth pains. (NIV)

This is how the first contractions and birth pains of the new age will begin. (TPT)

In the verses before this one, Jesus told His disciples about the signs of end-time events, and then in verse eight, he lets them know that similar to birth pains these events will become more frequent and painful. Unfortunately, the Word stated that these are only the beginning of suffering. So dear fellow believers, buckle up, make sure you have a right relationship with God, and get in the Word, for they will be the only things that will sustain you during the times in which we live.

WE NEED GOD

After blogging consistently throughout 2020, with my last blog being part of a series on Joseph’s life, I decided to take a sabbath for several weeks over the Christmas holiday and return to blogging and posting on January 9, 2021.

It has been my practice to start working on my blog during the week and then post it to my blog site on Saturday. However, this week I did not follow my usual routine because I was caught up in the monumental events happening in our nation. Besides the daily escalating death of people due to COVID-19 and the negative results of this pandemic to our world, I also became focused on two more significant events.

On Tuesday, January 5, 2021, we had an election in Georgia that resulted in two Democrats being selected to fill seats in the U.S. Senate. On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, Congress met in a joint session to formally count and tally the votes submitted by each state’s Electoral College. On this same day, President Trump’s supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., for a rally to show their support of President Trump and his message of a fraudulent election that he has been increasingly declaring since his 2020 presidential election loss. After the rally with the president’s encouragement, the crowd marched to the capitol building, where a mob broke into the building and wreaked unbelievable havoc. Seeing the scenes of the mob walking through the halls of the capitol building and boldly doing damage was disheartening. Plus, since that time, it has been reported that five people died due to this event.

Now days later, as I prayed, I thanked God that this month thousands of people around the world are in a time of fasting and consecration. We are seeking God for many things, but I believe most of all, we are requesting His divine intervention in our lives in these turbulent times. Though the spirit of fear is trying to grip our hearts as we watch and hear the events happening in the world around us, the consecration is causing our spirit man to be lifted with hope.

Additionally, I found myself meditating on two songs: “We Need You Lord” and “If We Ever Needed The Lord Before, We Sure Do Need Him Now.” These songs expressed my present sentiments, and I want to share portions of them with you.

We need You Lord, we need You Lord, right now. We need You Lord, we need You Lord, right now. We lift our hands and bow our knees and worship at Your Throne. We need You Lord, we need You Lord, right now

I need You, Lord. I need You Lord, right now. I need You, Lord. I need You Lord, right now. I lift my hands and bow my knees and worship at Your Throne. I need You, Lord. I need You Lord, right now

and

If we ever needed the Lord before, We sure do need Him now. Oh, we sure do need Him now. Oh, Lord, we sure do need Him now. (Oh, glory) If we ever needed the Lord before, We sure do need Him now. We need Him every day and every hour

On July 25, 2020, I posted a blog titled “We Need You, Lord,” and in it, I voiced some of the sentiments that I still feel six months later. We need God in this chaotic world. So, it is my prayer that as we humble ourselves before God, seek His face and obey His Word, we will be strengthened, prosperous, and kept in 2021.

JOSEPH SERIES: THE END

The last chapter of Genesis shared the royal funeral of Jacob and the death of Joseph. After living in Egypt with his family for seventeen years, Jacob, the patriarch, died, and his son Joseph kept the oath he made to bury him in the land of Canaan in the burial tomb of Abraham and Isaac.

God granted Joseph and his brothers the privilege of being present at Jacob’s passing from life to death. Out of the twelve sons, Joseph was the only one to have an outward display of emotions, for he fell upon his father’s face, wept, and kissed him. Furthermore, Joseph ordered the physicians to embalm his father, and they took the allotted time of forty days to embalm and thirty additional days of mourning. After which, Joseph requested Pharaoh’s permission to fulfill the oath he made to his father to bury him in the land of Canaan.  

With Pharaoh’s approval, the three-hundred-mile journey to Canaan for Jacob’s burial was taken by Joseph, his brothers, their children, their household servants, the servants of Pharaoh, all the Egyptian elders, horseman, and chariots. When this great company of mourners reached the threshing floor of Atad in Canaan with a great expression and lamentation, they mourned seven more days. The Canaanites noted the royal company, the pomp, and mourning and assumed the funeral was for royalty. Joseph and his brethren continued to the Machpelah burial cave and laid their father to rest.                                               

Apparently, after all these years, the guilt over their attempt to get rid of Joseph still lingered in the minds of the brother, and now, they were afraid with the death of their father that Joseph would no longer be kind to them. Therefore, after returning to Egypt, they sent him a message suggesting their father wanted him to forgive them. This saddened Joseph and made him weep. His brother followed up by going to see Joseph, and once again, the brothers prostrated themselves before him. Joseph kindly and reassuringly said to them, “Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones.”

Joseph lived fifty-four years more after his father’s death, and he was able to share his life with his sons, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. As his death drew near, Joseph reassured his family that they would return to Canaan, and he made them pledge to take his bones with them when they departed Egypt. The last verse in the book of Genesis, which chronicled the end of Joseph’s life, states, “So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.”

As I end this thirteen-blog series on the life of Joseph, I pray the teaching, nuggets, and points that I’ve made has aided you in your Christian walk. I close as I did in the previous blogs of this series with a few nuggets that I think are helpful for all of us to remember:

  1. Saying farewell to a loved one can be extremely emotional.
  2. People handle death differently; don’t expect the same emotions from everyone.
  3. When able follow a person’s burial instructions.
  4. When people respect and appreciate you, they will grant your request.
  5. Don’t forget or neglect your duties after periods of mourning.
  6. Guilt sometimes lingers even after receiving forgiveness.
  7. Guilt is not easily erased.
  8. Guilt makes you question the actions and motives of others.
  9. When you are guiltless, you can be fearless.
  10. When you have truly forgiven someone, you do not plan retaliation.
  11. Let brotherly love transcend revenge.
  12. What the enemy meant for your destruction God will use for your good.
  13. The purpose and plan of God will prevail.
  14. When you can bless your family, do so.
  15. Share your burial instructions with persons who are capable of honoring them.

JOSEPH SERIES: PATRIARCHAL BLESSINGS

Genesis 48 and 49 share the story of Jacob’s patriarchal blessings that he gave his family members before his death, and the following is a summary of how those events occurred.

Joseph was informed that his elderly father was ill, so he visited him and took his two sons with him. Upon his arrival at his father’s abode, Jacob sat up in his bed and recounted to Joseph his encounter with God at Luz. He shared the words God spoke to him, “Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.” Additionally, Jacob told Joseph he would adopt Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, into his family, and they would share in the covenant blessings bestowed on his sons.

Suffering from blindness, Jacob was unable to see his grandsons clearly, so he requested them to come closer to him that he would be able to bless them. Moreover, Jacob lets Joseph know how happy he was to be reunited with him and able to get acquainted with his grandsons.

When Jacob blessed his grandsons, he crossed his hands, which caused his right hand, which signified birthright inheritance on the younger brother. Seeing what happened, Joseph attempted to correct the hand placement; however, Jacob stopped him and said, “I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.”

In this chapter’s closing remarks, Jacob invocated the blessings of the covenant, shepherd, deliverer God on Joseph and his sons. Jacob said, “God, before whom my father’s Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my father’s Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” Also, he bequeathed Joseph the Shechem property, which he took from the Amorites, and reassured him that God would be with him and bring him back to the land of Canaan.

In chapter 49, Jacob gathered all of his sons to his bedside and prophecied to them from the oldest to the youngest. When he got to Joseph, he talked about God making him a fruitful tree and allowing him to expand beyond their household despite the hatred and the many attacks of the enemy on his life. He ended proclaiming victory and rich blessings on Joseph.   

So, once again, as I did in the previous blogs of this series, I will close this blog with a few points that I think are helpful for all of us to remember:

  1. When your parents are ill, and you can visit them, do so.
  2. Blessings come from God.
  3. Some blessings are not just for you but also your descendants.
  4. Your birth order does not matter when God has a blessing for you.

JOSEPH SERIES: MEETINGS, BLESSINGS, AND PROSPERITY

In Genesis 46, in his last communication with his brothers, Joseph instructed them what to say about their occupation when introducing them to Pharaoh. However, in Genesis 47, when he took five of his brothers to meet Pharaoh and Pharaoh asked them their occupation, they did not follow Joseph’s instruction. The brothers told Pharaoh what they were instructed not to say,” Thy servants are shepherds, both we, and also our fathers. For to sojourn in the land are we come; for thy servants have no pasture for their flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan: now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants’ dwell in the land of Goshen.” Pharaoh responds by reiterating his offer of residency in Goshen’s land and employment positions of overseeing his cattle.

Next, Joseph brought his father Jacob to meet Pharaoh and Jacob greeted Pharaoh with a blessing. Jacob shares with Pharaoh a bit of his pilgrimage, which he describes as “Few and evil,” and Jacob again blessed Pharaoh before departing.

As the famine years progressed, the Egyptians spent all their monies purchasing corn, then sold their cattle for corn, next they sold their land to buy corn, and finally sold themselves into slavery for food. Except for the land where the priest resided, Joseph was able to obtain all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, and he moved the people into designated cities. When the famine ended, Joseph gave the Egyptians seeds that they could grow the crop. He taxed them one-fifth of their increase and allowed them to keep the remainder for which they were thankful and willing to do.

The chapter ends by disclosing that the Israelites grew and multiplied exceedingly, and Jacob lived in Egypt, enjoying his fatherly relationship with Joseph for seventeen years. As he got close to death, he made this request to Joseph, “If now I have found grace in thy sight, put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh, and deal kindly and truly with me; bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt: But I will lie with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me in their burying place.” Joseph complied, and satisfied Jacob bowed his head in worship.

So, once again, as I did in the previous blogs of this series, I will close this blog with points that I think are helpful for all of us to remember:

  1. When someone who is informed about a situation shares relevant information with you, listen
  2. Do as you are instructed.
  3. In times of famine, God blesses His people with housing, provision, and employment.
  4. One of the honors you can bestow on someone is a blessing.
  5. Some hardships that we experience in life are self-imposed.
  6. God will cause great men to favor you.
  7. Countries suffer during times of famine.
  8. A famine can cause you to lose everything that is important to you.
  9. One man’s loss is another man’s gain.
  10. Don’t touch the priest stuff.
  11. When able give to the needy.
  12. Be thankful when people are kind to you.
  13. Taxation was implemented in the days of Joseph.
  14. God’s plan is for His people to grow and multiply.
  15. Give instructions for your burial to a responsible person.

JOSEPH SERIES: THE REUNION

On his journey from Hebron to Egypt, after traveling about a week, Jacob arrived at Beersheba, where he offered sacrifices to his forefather’s God. Additionally, God spoke to Jacob in a night-vision and assured him not to fear, He would be with him in Egypt, his family would become a great nation, that he would return to Canaan, and Joseph, his beloved son, would be present at the time of his death.

Furthermore, chapter 46 revealed the sixty-six family members who accompanied Jacob down into Egypt, and it shared the names of Jacob’s wives, his wives’ handmaidens, his sons, daughter, grandsons, and granddaughter. The families rode in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent for them, and they took their cattle and goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan with them.

After twenty-two years, the long-anticipated reunion between father and son took place in Goshen, the Nile delta’s fertile northeast section. Joseph’s strong affection for his father was displayed as he copiously wept on Jacob’s neck. Happy to be reunited with his son Jacob said, “Now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive.”

Finally, knowing the Egyptians disdain for all sheepherders, Joseph instructs his brothers to say to Pharaoh when they met with him, “Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers.”

So, once again, as I did in the previous blogs of this series, I will end this blog with points that I think are helpful for all of us to remember:

  1. When given the opportunity, offer sacrifices to God.
  2. Listen for the voice of God even in the night season.
  3. Invite the true God of your father to also your God.
  4. Your best assurance in life is knowing God will be with you; thus, you do not have to fear.
  5. Don’t go anywhere the presence of God is not.
  6. Please don’t leave any family behind; take them with you to the place of provision.
  7. A forerunner’s responsibility is to lead you in the right direction.
  8. It is a wonderful and emotional event to reunite with a person you know loves you dearly.
  9. A wise person will instruct others about offensive things.

JOSEPH SERIES: THE REVEAL

In Genesis 44, Joseph’s brothers passed the test, with Judah being their spokesperson sharing their true sentiments about their father and brother Benjamin. Feeling satisfied with their response Joseph who was overcome with emotions, revealed to them his true identity. Wanting this to be a private moment between him and his brothers, Joseph sent his attendants away. However, before he could tell them who he was, he allowed his years of pent up emotions to be displayed in a time of crying, after which he shared his identity and asked an important question, “I am Joseph; doth my father yet live?”

Since he talked to his brothers in their native tongue without an interpreter, at first, they were surprised and then terrified with this announcement. Joseph continued to speak to them and calmed their fears with words of truth, encouragement, comfort, hugs, kisses, more tears, and reassurance. Joseph realized his role was to preserve lives, and he shared this fact with his brethren; he told them, “And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.”

Meanwhile, the bible never revealed if Pharaoh knew Joseph’s history, but when he heard Joseph’s brothers was in Egypt, he was excited and happy for Joseph. He confirmed Joseph’s words to them about moving, and he invited them to move to Egypt, where they would be amply cared for while residing in Goshen, which was located in the easterly province of Egypt near the Arabian Gulf.

Following Pharaoh’s instructions, Joseph gave them wagons to transport their families back to Egypt and provisions of corn, bread, and meat to eat along the way. Additionally, he gave each brother changes of raiment; but he gave five changes of clothes and three hundred pieces of silver to Benjamin. His final admonishment to his brothers before they departed was, “See that ye fall not out by the way.”

When the brothers returned home, they shared the news of Joseph and his desire for the family to move to Egypt with their father. At first, Jacob did not believe their words; however, when he saw the wagons with all the provisions, he said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die.”

As I did in the previous blogs of this series, I will end this blog with points that I think are helpful for all of us to remember:

  1. Some family discussions and revelations should be done in private.
  2. When emotions have been pent up for a long time, the final release of them can be explosive.
  3. Priorities are revealed in conversations.
  4. In God’s time, the full meaning of dreams will be revealed.
  5. For His people, God has a plan of preservation and posterity.
  6. You know you are free when you can love the people that offended you.
  7. Sometimes your offender has difficulty accepting the fact that you have forgiven them.
  8. Guilt can hold people in bondage.
  9. When you are happy, people that care for you will be pleased for you.
  10. Divine connections can benefit your future.
  11. In your move, God can provide you with new stuff.
  12. It is easier to blame than to take responsibility for your negative actions.
  13. Move forward and don’t look back.
  14. God can restore that which was lost.
  15. When God gives you a Word it will come to fruition.

JOSEPH SERIES: THE TEST

In Genesis 43, Joseph had the second encounter with his brothers, which ended with them dining with him at his house. At first, the brothers were apprehensive about meeting with Joseph, who still had not revealed his identity to them, but they were all amiable by the end of the unstinted meal.

Even though he sometimes became emotional while listening to his brothers talk about the past, before revealing his true identity to them, Joseph decided to test their loyalty to their brother Benjamin and concern for their aged father. Therefore, before the brothers left his house, Joseph once again tells his steward to fill their sacks with the monies they brought to purchase the corn and place his silver cup in Benjamin’s sack.

When the brother reached a short distance out of the city, Joseph sent the steward after them to accuse them of theft. When confronted by the steward with the robbery of Joseph’s silver cup, which was known for use by the Asiatics in divination practices, the brothers vehemently denied doing so. They replied, “Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing: Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord’s house silver or gold? With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord’s bondmen.” However, the steward told them only the guilty person would be retained, and he proceeded to search their sacks from the oldest to the youngest, and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. In dismay and not knowing how the cup got into Benjamin’s sack, the brothers ripped their clothes and gathered their things to head back to the city.  

When they arrived at Joseph’s house where they met him, they prostrated themselves on the ground. Joseph accused them of stealing, to which Judah replied, “What shall we say unto my lord? What shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.” But Joseph said, “God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father.”

This forty-fourth chapter of Genesis ends with Judah rehearsing the exchange between him and their father Jacob before the brothers came to Egypt for the second time. He tells Joseph their father would die of grief if the brothers returned home without Benjamin; therefore, he was willing to take Benjamin’s place and suffer whatever consequence would befall Benjamin.

As I did in the previous blogs of this series, I will end this blog with points that I think are helpful for all of us to remember:

  1. In life, people will test you (set you up) to see how you respond.
  2. When people set you up, they do it strategically.
  3. When you are charged with a crime for which you are blameless, you will proclaim your innocence.
  4. Not knowing Joseph’s cup was placed in Benjamin’s sack, the brothers said to the steward, “With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord’s bondmen.” Be mindful of the words you speak, for you may regret them in the future.
  5. When the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack, the brothers rent their clothes. The possibilities of the unknown can cause you to grieve prematurely.
  6. In The Living Bible, Genesis 44:16 states, “And Judah said, Oh, what shall we say to my lord? How can we plead? How can we prove our innocence? God is punishing us for our sins. Sir, we have all returned to be your slaves, both we and he in whose sack the cup was found.” Some people think that they can sin without consequences; however, your sins will eventually find you out.
  7. Some tests reveal your priorities.
  8. Some tests reveal your character.
  9. Some tests make you remember things that you wanted to forget.
  10. When you are fighting for your life, be careful how you frame your words.
  11. Due to the information presented to Jacob, he thought a wild animal killed Joseph. Deception can cause you to conclude wrongly.
  12. Jacob’s life was bound up to Benjamin, whom he thought was the only surviving child of Rachel. Grief is real. The loss of a child can cause pain and suffering that some parents never recover, and some even die from grief. Also, grief causes people to be scared of losing other love ones.
  13. Knowing their father would grieve over his absence, Judah was willing to be a scapegoat so that Benjamin could return home. Does your life matter to someone enough that they would make a sacrifice of their life for yours?

JOSEPH SERIES: SECOND ENCOUNTER WITH BROTHERS

Jacob and his family consumed all the corn that his sons obtained in Egypt, and once again, they were experiencing a lack of food. Thus, Jacob told his sons to return to Egypt to purchase more corn; however, Judah reminded him of the words of Joseph, “Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.” After much discussion and Judah pledging to bring Benjamin home, Jacob hesitantly permitted Benjamin to accompany his brother to Egypt. Additionally, they all took gifts of fruits, balm, honey, spices, myrrh, and nuts along with the amount of monies that they discovered in their sack when they returned from their first trip to Egypt to give to Joseph.

Upon their arrival in Egypt, when Joseph saw Benjamin with the brothers, he arranged for them to dine at his house. At the house, the brother informed Joseph’s steward about the monies they found in their sack and their desire to give it to back; however, the steward replied, “Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money.”

While awaiting an audience with Joseph, Simeon was reunited with his brothers, and they were treated to Egyptian civilities. When Joseph came home, salutations were exchanged, and the brothers once again fulfilled Joseph’s dream by bowing down to him several times amid their conversation. Furthermore, when Joseph saw his younger brother Benjamin, he was so overcome with emotions that he had to leave the room and cry. After getting himself together, he returned and had the noon meal with them.

For this meal, the tables were arranged in three groups. Joseph had his own table, the Egyptians that ate with him had their table, and the brothers were placed around a third table according to their birth order. When the meal was served, Joseph sent food from his table to the brothers, but Benjamin was given five times the amount of food that his brothers received.

All in all, this day had been stressful for the brothers because they were not sure what would happen to them throughout the day. First, they were apprehensive about returning the monies found in their sack. Then they were uncertain about whether Joseph would believe they were not thieves. As promised to Jacob, they had to make sure no evil befell Benjamin, and finally, they wondered who knew their birth order and sat them at their table accordingly. However, because Joseph treated them kindly, they could relax for Genesis 43:34 ended the chapter saying, “And they drank and were merry with him.”

As I did in the previous blogs of this series, I will end this blog with points that I think are helpful for all of us to remember:

  1. Things often get worse before they get better.
  2. People choose to ignore that which they do not want to do.
  3. Time is precious; don’t waste it.
  4. When you talk, you cannot be sure what the listener’s response will be.
  5. If Benjamin did not accompany his brothers to Egypt, the family would eventually starve to death. Jacob laid aside his feeling for the survival and good of his family and Judah was willing to sacrifice himself for the good of the family. What sacrifices are you making for your family?
  6. Apparently, Jacob had not changed; he reacted similarly to what he did with his brother Esau. He felt when there is a possibility of trouble, give gifts to appease the offended.
  7. Return that which does not belong to you.
  8. God’s mercies are needed in the affairs of our life.
  9. Though he had not seen nor communicated with him in over 20 years, Joseph was concerned about his father’s well-being. Are you concerned about your parents?
  10. The last time Joseph saw Benjamin, he was probably a young child, and now he was in his early twenties. Seeing Benjamin caused Joseph to want to connect with him and let him know he was special.
  11. When you are able speak blessings over your family members.
  12. There are many ways to express your emotions; when touched, men will cry.
  13. How well can you hold your peace? Joseph had a second encounter with his brothers and was able to not reveal his identity to them.
  14. Joseph treated his brothers kindly and made them welcome in his home. Can you invite persons that hurt you into your home and treat them with kindness?

JOSEPH SERIES: ENCOUNTER WITH PAINFUL PAST

The seven years of abundance in the land of Egypt ended, and now it is the second year of famine that had spread throughout the land and into other countries. This famine reached Hebron in southern Canaan, where Jacob and his family resided, and when he heard that corn was being sold down in Egypt, he sent ten of his sons on the approximately 300 miles journey to Egypt to purchase food. Scared that something might happen to the youngest son Benjamin if he traveled with his brothers, Jacob kept him home.

Upon meeting the governor, they unknowingly bowed down to him, fulfilling the dream that Joseph shared with them when he was a teenager while part of the family in Canaan. It had been twenty-two years since the brothers had seen Joseph, so they did not recognize Joseph, the governor of Egypt, who oversaw the selling of corn. Additionally, he was clean-shaven, dressed in the Egyptians’ official garments, and communicated with them using an interpreter; however, Joseph recognized them but did not reveal his identity. Instead, Joseph harshly questioned them and accused them four times of being spies, which they repeatedly denied. In their response, they told Joseph about their family, “Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not” (Genesis 42:13).

Joseph acted like he did not believe them; thus, to make them prove their innocence, he said, “Hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither. Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies.” However, before this took place, Joseph placed his brothers in prison, and after three days, he met with them with a change in his requirements. He said, “This do, and live; for I fear God: If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses: But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die” (Genesis 42:18-20).

Unwittingly in Joseph’s hearing, his brothers recounted Joseph’s pleas, which they disregarded when they placed him in the pit and sold him to the Midianites. Now they felt after all these years; God was possibly punishing them for their actions. At this point, Joseph’s emotions got the best of him; so, he left them and privately cried.

Upon returning to them, Simeon was chosen to stay in prison while his nine brothers returned home. Joseph had his steward fill their sacks with corn and the monies they used to purchase the corn. He also gave them provisions to eat along the way. Only one of the brothers discovered the returned monies during their journey home; however, this caused them to become fearful and say, “What is this that God hath done unto us?” This fear was compounded when the others discovered their monies in their sacks when they got home.

After arriving back in Canaan, the brothers told their father what happened to them, Simeon imprisonment, and the requirements placed on them to purchase corn in the future. Jacob was distraught over the things they said, and he adamantly declared he would not allow Benjamin to go to Egypt despite Rueben offering the lives of his two sons if he did not go back to Egypt and return with Benjamin in hand. This chapter ends with the words of Jacob, “My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.”

As I did in the previous blogs of this series, I will end this blog with points that I think are helpful for all of us to remember:

  1. If you are experiencing famine and God reveals where provisions are, go after it.
  2. No matter the age, parents are concerned about their children’s well-being.
  3. It may take years for your dream to come to fruition, don’t lose hope; it will come.
  4. Years prior to this time, Joseph’s words to the chief butler would lead one to believe he wanted to return to his father’s household. However, after his elevation to the governorship, marriage, and the birth of his first son, it appeared the pain of the past no longer tormented his mind and that he was no longer thinking about returning to his father’s house. No doubt, his brethren’s appearance opened back up emotional feelings that Joseph probably thought were dead. Furthermore, running through his mind probably was how he should treat them and would they recognize him. Think about this. What will you do when you come face to face with the people that abused you in the past? What will you say; how will you react?
  5. Be strategic in your revelations
  6. Being without his natural family for so long, Joseph missed the love of his father and brother Benjamin. Now that he sees his half-brothers and hears that his father and younger brother are still alive, he yearns to see them. It is natural to yearn to see your family, especially after long times of separation.
  7. Take your time when making decisions.
  8. Let the fear of God motivate and direct you.
  9. Rather than retaliation, show mercy.
  10. Reaping can make you reflect on what you sowed.
  11. Don’t be fooled; people remember what you did and what they did.
  12. Take responsibility for your actions.
  13. Reliving painful experiences can be gut retching.
  14. Some memories are harrowing even after a long time has passed, and when remembered, they will bring you to tears.
  15. Joseph did not hold a grudge when given the opportunity, but he showed compassion to all of his family. Can you do that?
  16. In allowing his brethren to return home, Joseph showed trust. Are you willing to trust those that offended you?
  17. Amid trouble, people will question God’s involvement in their situation.
  18. People cherish that which reminds them of the one they love.