May 10, 2019

I Fear God

By: Larry Shaffer

This is my grandson Ryker on our recent trip to Maui.

I Fear God 

Genesis 42  

Joseph, lesson 20 

Now Joseph said to them on the third day, ‘Do this and live, for I fear God; if you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined in your prison; but as for the rest of you, go, carry grain for the famine of your households, and bring your youngest brother to me, so your words may be verified, and you will not die.’ and they did so. 

Then they said to one another, ‘Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul, when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen; therefore, this distress has come upon us.” Reuben answered them, saying, ‘Did I not tell you, do not sin against the boy; and you would not listen? Now comes the reckoning for his blood. 

They did not know, however, that Joseph understood, for there was an interpreter between them. He turned away from them and wept. Genesis 42:18-24 

This quite a scene; quite a turn of events! Joseph tested his brothers by questioning their motives and placing them in prison for three days. They feared for their lives and also for their families back in Canaan who were dependent upon them to bring them food. David is very shrewd in his actions. He is both testing them to determine if they have changed from their treacherous ways and secondly, providing them some ‘good ole fashion’ discipline.  

There are a few phrases in the text that especially caught my attention: 

Do this and live, for I fear God. V 18 

  • Joseph spoke these words to his brothers after their time in prison. They feared for their lives and Joseph gave them an opportunity to live. Why? He stated why. He said because he feared God. Seems odd that a lord over a pagan nation would state, ‘I fear God’. 
  • Have you ever had the thought, “I think God is trying to tell me something? Maybe I should listen!’  The brothers were dealing with a master who feared God…just like them. Or should I say, they were raised to fear God but the lives they had lived had not exhibited fear for God. Maybe God is trying to tell them something? 
  • God was using Joseph to get their attention. Guilt and remorse were rising within them. Maybe this guilt and remorse will lead to confession and redemption for the brothers. For the first time since the brothers arrived in Egypt, there was now a glimmer of hope. 
  • Our message to our friends, family and acquaintances is the same as Joseph: Do this (receive Jesus) and live, for I fear God! 

If you are honest men…v 18 

  • In their first meeting, the brothers claimed to be honest men. Joseph knew better. They were actually wicked and treacherous. Joseph wanted to know if they had changed. 
  • These tests are serving two purposes. First, had the brothers changed? Secondly, it is providing a wakeup call to them regarding their relationships with God? 

Truly, we are guilty…Now comes the reckoning for his blood. V 22 

  • It never pays to run from God. Sometimes we may feel like we are going to miss out on the consequences of our big sins. After nearly 20 years, the consequences of selling Joseph to foreigners and faking his death, the sting of their consciences had subsided. But the sting is now coming back in full force. 
  • In our running from God, we don’t usually deal openly with God about our sin. In silence, we hope the conviction will just go away. When the brothers sayTruly, we are guilty, it’s a huge step in the right direction.  

He turned away from them and wept. v 24 

  • The brothers didn’t realize that Joseph could understand their conversation of confession and acknowledgement of their wrongdoing toward Joseph. 
  • Joseph caught a glimpse into their guilt and their fear.  
  • Why did he weep? Most likely it was a mix of emotions. A mixture of memories of the years of pain caused by the brothers as well as hope for the repentance of the brothers. 
  • After all these years in a foreign land, Joseph truly did still fear God. God was giving him a heart of compassion and forgiveness. Most would look at this situation as an opportunity for revenge. However, Joseph had God’s heart which is a heart of redemption and restoration. 

Father, there are many lessons to consider today regarding this story. Help us first to confess our heart’s secrets before You. Yes, You gave us Jesus to remove the penalty of our sin but also to relieve the guilt of our sins as well. Help us to open up to You; be transparent before you in prayer; receive fully the forgiveness of our sin as well as the relinquishing of our guilt. Restore our souls, all to Your glory and to Your honor. Amen!