Good morning TRC and Friends. Today we are studying Genesis 45 and how God’s providence brings reconciliation.
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So, get ready to hear the Scriptures and worship together in song. Sermon notes are below the video.
Genesis 45: Reconciliation through the providence of God
What does the text say?
- Judah has become the pledge of safety for Benjamin.
- The brothers have returned, and Simeon who was left behind as a pledge until Benjamin was brought in, and the brothers all feast with Joseph.
- Joseph sends them home and tests them by sending them with food, their money, and placing his own silver cup into Benjamin’s sack to make it look as if Benjamin stole it.
- Joseph pretends like he will keep Benjamin and let the rest go.
- Judah steps into Benjamin’s place for his perceived sin (see the gospel allusion?), and pleads the case of his brothers before Joseph.
What does the bible teach us about God and man?
Joseph’s four statements about God in verses 5b, 7a, 8a, and 9b provide a clear understanding of the providence of God through how Joseph juxtaposes two statements:
- “You sold me here”
- “God sent me”
- Verse 5b “God sent me to preserve life” (general saving of humanity)
- Verse 7a “God sent me to preserve a remnant of our people” (specific salvation of his chosen people for eternal purposes)
- Verse 8a “It was not you, but God who sent me”
- Verse 9b “God has made me lord of all Egypt”
- What do we understand about God’s providence?
- Man’s actions matter.
- God’s actions are ultimate.
- Man cannot stop the purposes of God; man can only join God through Jesus by faith.
- Man can find himself pushing against the immovable hand of God, and that is a lose-lose, but it can be turned in a moment of salvation by turning to Jesus.
- Isaiah 46:1-11 (ESV) Bel bows down; Nebo stoops; their idols are on beasts and livestock; these things you carry are borne as burdens on weary beasts. 2 They stoop; they bow down together; they cannot save the burden, but themselves go into captivity. 3 “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; 4 even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save. 5 “To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike? 6 Those who lavish gold from the purse, and weigh out silver in the scales, hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; then they fall down and worship! 7 They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it, they set it in its place, and it stands there; it cannot move from its place. If one cries to it, it does not answer or save him from his trouble. 8 “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, 9 remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ 11 calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.
Joseph applies the providence of God to comfort his brothers for them to be reconciled. V. 5a
- “Do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here.”
- The providence of God is not a cold “fact” about God.
- The providence of God is a warm and glorious comfort for those who follow Jesus.
- The providence of God is a call to be saved from sin’s curse and enter the rest/Sabbath of God.
- The providence of God can, if you will rest in it, silence all the “but what about this?”.
- The providence of God redeems our deepest hurts.
- Don’t misunderstand…it does not excuse those who hurt us or ignore the reality of the hurt.
- It does show us that God can turn those hurts to good and gives us that deep hope.
Knowing God works this way is THE way for us to forgive and be reconciled to those who hurt us or to be forgiven by those we have hurt and be reconciled back to them.
“Reconciliation comes through forgiveness, and forgiveness through the recognition of God’s sovereignty.” (Allen Ross)
- When we understand that it was God who was “hemming these brothers in” to bring them to repentance, and we see God’s love for his people, we have no place to hold on to bitterness and unforgiveness.
- When we understand it was God who was weaving together eternal purposes in Christ for his people, we can let go of hurts and forgive.
- When we understand it was God weaving together eternal purposes in Chris for his people we can let go of our pride and repent knowing that God can use my sinful actions to do good to others in spite of me.
- THIS KIND OF GOOD CAN ONLY COME FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST.
- Romans 8:28 (ESV) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
This work of reconciliation points us to the work of Jesus who goes before us, takes our punishment, does us good, reveals our sin, brings us to repentance, causes us to see him for who he is, and restores us not by beating us up, but by showing us good.
- It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
How do we make application? What do we need to believe, know and do?
- If you have not turned from sin to follow Jesus, please believe in the Lord Jesus.
- Jesus wants to bring you to God the Father.
- Know that if you have sinned against others, God will not leave it alone. He will work to make right, justice and even reconciliation.
- Know that if we have been sinned against, God not only can, but he wants to turn it for good. Rest in that.
- God does reconcile people who will submit to his way.
- Believe that if we rebel against God, it is like running full speed into an immovable object. Sin and rebellion never work out.
- Know that there is nothing man can do to stop the purposes of God.
- Believe that God is in charge of every detail of your life and mine.
- There is not a molecule in the air out of place.