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JOSEPH’S FAMILY REUNION
Intro: As you move through the book of Genesis you are confronted with the horrors of family life.
· Lamech, who lived before the flood, was guilty of polygamy.
· Ham mocked the nakedness of his father after the flood.
· Abram engages in an adulterous affair with Hagar.
· Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed because of homosexuality.
· Lot commits incest with his daughters.
· Abraham tempts Abimelech to commit adultery with Sarah.
· Isaac plays favorites with his sons, choosing Esau over Jacob.
· Jacob has thirteen children by four different women.
· Judah commits incest with his daughter-in-law Tamar.
By the time we walk out of the book in chapter 50, we have seen nearly every evil that can take place within a family. These two chapters are a rare, but refreshing, exception.
As we learned a long time ago, when we began this study, Joseph’s family was very dysfunctional. There was rampant sin, open hatred, favoritism and wickedness of every kind. But, these chapters teach us that there is hope for the home; there is a future for the family!
These verses remind us that there is hope for the family. They teach us that there is hope for your family. Let’s move through this passage and see what the Lord has to say to our church and our families. I want to share the truths that come to mind from these verses as I try to preach about Joseph’s Family Reunion.
I. 8-27 JOSEPH AND
A BLESSED FAMILY
(Ill. These verses talk about the people who came down into Egypt with Jacob to meet Joseph. There are a few important lessons here that we do not want to miss. These lessons have something to teach us about our own families.)
A. v. 26 Their Number – When Jacob was forced to leave home many years earlier, the prospects for his future did not look all that bright. He had been forced to leave his home under a cloud of shame, after having deceived his father. He set out for his uncle’s house to find a wife, which he did. But, he would spend the next twenty years there being deceived by his uncle Laban. Jacob’s family began to grow and his wealth began to increase. Still there was trouble in his home and family. His children were out of control. There was discord between his wives. It must have seemed as though life would always be hard, unsettled and difficult for Jacob and his family.
God had a plan! Jacob met God one night while he was on his way to his uncle’s house, Gen. 28. He had another encounter with God on the way back to Bethel, Gen. 32. Those two encounters with Almighty God changed Jacob’s life forever.
God took a solitary man by the name of Jacob and brought through him the nation of Israel. What appeared to be a family riddle and ruined by dysfunction and tragedy was actually a picture of God’s grace in the making.
Who would have thought that a fugitive would lead a family of seventy into Egypt? It was the work of God! Who would have guessed that 400 years later Moses would lead two million or more out of Egypt? It was the work of God! Who would have imagined that from this little band that included Jacob, his twelve sons, one daughter, fifty-two grandchildren and four great-grandsons would one day come the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who would give His life a ransom to redeem His people from the slavery of their sins? It was an incredible, amazing work of Almighty God!
(Note: Now, consider your own family. It may appear that things are out of control in the lives of those you love and care for, but I would remind you that God has a plan.
Anyone looking at Jacob’s family would have said, “What’s the use? These people are hopeless!” The truth is, God was working all the time, and He is working in your family too.
Keep praying for them. Keep walking right in front of them. Keep trusting the Lord to do the right thing. He will! He has a plan! Praise God! That helps me!)
B. v. 10-11 Their Natures – These people might have been part of God’s eternal plan, but they were not perfect. In fact, they were a long way from it! Still, there is a glimpse of the grace of God at work here.
In this list of names, there is a fact or two that we need to take note of today. In verse 10 we are given the names of Simeon’s sons. The last phrase tells us that one of his sons was born to “a Canaanitish woman.” The Canaanites were an accursed people and marriage to them was forbidden.
But, look at verse 12. This verse lists the offspring of Judah. His first three sons, Er, Onan and Shelah were by his wife, who was also a Canaanite, Gen. 38:2. There is no mention of this sin in Judah’s life. Why?
Judah had stood before Joseph and made a full confession. As a result, he was pardoned and forgiven by God, Gen. 44.
Simeon had continued in his sin and had never repented and his sin is remembered. God had put away the sin of Judah and remembered it no more.
(Note: That is a blessing! It teaches us that when confession is made, sin is forgiven, 1 John 1:9. And, when sin is forgiven, sin is forever forgotten, Psa. 103:12; Isa. 38:17; Isa. 43:25; Jer. 50:20; Mic. 7:19; Col. 2:13-14; 1 John 1:7.)
C. v. 26 Their Names – As I read these verses, I am reminded that the Lord knew every detail and every connection within the family of Jacob. He knew who belonged to whom and He knows who was where. God saw it every single thing and He took note of it all. He knew every detail of Jacob’s family. He knew every individual, every sin, every problem, every fear, and every worry.
(Note: He knows everything about your family too! He knows every secret you are trying to hide. He knows everything that has been hidden away from the eyes of others. He knows where all the skeletons are hidden. He knows!
He also knows about all the needs in your family. He knows every lost soul. He knows everyone that has turned away from Him and His ways. He knows every problem, every worry, every need, every valley, every failure and every success. He knows the pain in your heart. He knows the joy in your soul. He knows and He cares, Heb. 4:15-16! You would be well served to make your family a constant object of prayer before the Father’s throne.
He knows and He is working! It may not appear to be the case, but He is busy working in the hearts and lives of those you love. Put them in His hands one more time and look to Him for the work your family needs, 1 Pet. 5:7.)
II. 28-47:12 JOSEPH AND
A BELOVED FATHER
(Ill. This passage deals with the family, but it also focuses in on Joseph’s relationship with his father. The way he treated Jacob reveals much about Joseph’s character.
These verses also have something to say to us about our relationship to those who grow old around us. The way we treat them is a window into our own character.)
A. 46:28-30 He Gave Him Attention – When Joseph was younger, he was the apple of his father’s eye. Jacob favored Joseph above all his sons and had picked him to be the head of the family after his death. He signified this choice by giving Joseph a “coat of many colors”, Gen. 37:3. That coat identified Joseph as the head of the family. It told his brothers that he was their ruler. Of course, that coat caused trouble in the family, but it was a clear statement of a father’s live for his son.
Now the tables are turned. Joseph is in the place of power and Jacob has grown older. Joseph finds himself is the position of having to provide for his father. So, Joseph goes out to meet Jacob, to insure that all Jacob’s needs are met.
(Note: If we live long enough, and our parents live long enough, we will find ourselves in that position as well. Erma Bombeck wrote about just this situation. She told of a day when she and her elderly mother were driving down the road when someone pulled out in front of them. Her first reaction was to throw out her arm to keep her mom from hitting the dash. As she did so, she suddenly remembered all the times her mother had done the same thing when she was a little girl. The roles had reversed in their relationship. She went on to say that years later she was driving with her daughter then the same thing happened. Her daughter reached out to protect her mother. The roles were reversing.
Joseph sets a good example for all children to follow. He made every effort to take care of the people who had cared for him. That is a lesson we would all do well to learn.)
B. 46:29-30 He Gave Him Affection – When Joseph saw Jacob for the first time in over twenty years, he could not contain his emotions. He made no effort to hide his love for his father. Here he is, the Prime Minister of Egypt and he is weeping like a child as he hugs his father. What a scene this is!
That is the way we should all be around those we love. We should not be ashamed to display our love and affection for our families. I know that some folks are from “the old school”. You were taught that you just don’t do that! You never display affection in public. You don’t tell child that you love them. You don’t kiss on them and hug them all the time.
Why not? They need to know they are loved! They need to hear the people closest to them say “I love you!” they need for you to show it too! They need hugs and love every day of their lives. If you are from “the old school” you just need to know that God allows transfers!
C. 46:31-47:10 He Gave Him Acceptance – Joseph wants to present his family and his father to Pharaoh. Joseph knows that the Egyptians despise shepherds. They consider them unclean and worthless people.
Much like some people view those who have skin of a different color; or like some people see those who come from a different strata of society. Joseph knows how the Egyptians feel, but he is not ashamed of his father. He brings him in and presents him to Pharaoh.
Imagine this scene. There is Pharaoh with all the trappings of royalty. The crown, the rich robes, the servants, the wealth everywhere and there is Jacob. He is dressed in the humble robes of a shepherd. He has little of this world’s wealth and none of its power, but Gen. 47:7 says that he “blessed Pharaoh”. Jacob may have been weak in the eyes of the world, but he was powerful in the eyes of the Lord. Pharaoh was merely an earthly king while Jacob was a child of God. Pharaoh was an earthly prince, but Jacob was a “prince with God.” Joseph knew that his father was a man of God and he was proud of his dad.
(Note: Someone said, “You can choose your friends, but you are stuck with your family.” I suppose there are times when people get embarrassed by their families, but we need to learn to accept them as they are and love them for who they are.
If your family is saved, you are especially blessed. Don’t ever be ashamed of those people in your family who love Jesus. You ought to thank God that He has given you some people in your life who love Him and want to serve Him.)
D. 47:11-12 He Gave Him Acknowledgement – When Joseph was small, his father provided for his needs. Now, Jacob is in a position where he needs to be cared for. He acknowledges his responsibility to take care of his father. Joseph rises to the challenge and, again, he sets a great example for us to follow.
Joseph settled his family in Goshen. It was one of the most fertile areas in Egypt. It was perfectly suited to the needs of herdsmen. It was also situated so that Israel could make a hasty exodus 400 years later.
Joseph saw to it that his father and his entire family had everything they needed to survive and to thrive. He was a blessing to them. Joseph respected his father and he respected the rest of his family.
(Note: Again, this is a good pattern for us to follow. We have a responsibility to look after those who are older and in need. Children have the first responsibility, and after that, others who see the need are obligated to meet that need, Ill. 1 Tim. 5:16; James 2:15-16; 1 John 3:18-19.)
III. 47:27-31 JOSEPH AND
A BITTER FAREWELL
(Ill. In these verses, we are called to the bedside of old Jacob. He believes that the end of his journey is near. He has a few things to say to Joseph before he dies. Let’s listen in because there may just be something here for us too.)
A. 47:29-31 A Final Petition – Jacob simply asks his son not to bury him in Egypt. He wants his body taken back to Canaan so that he can be buried in the same place as his fathers, Gen. 23. Joseph promises to carry out his father’s wishes.
B. 50:1-13 A Final Present – These verses talk about the fulfillment of Joseph’s promise to his father. In fact, Pharaoh had such respect for Jacob that he ordered a royal funeral for him. Joseph took his father’s body, along with the rulers of the land of Egypt, and they traveled to Canaan to mourn Jacob’s death and to bury his body. The funeral made an impression on the inhabitants of Canaan.
(Note: It is hard when the people we love and admire pass from the scene. We need to consider the lives they lived and the legacy they left behind. We need to honor the legacy of those who have gone on before. If we were blessed to have had godly parents and a godly heritage, we should honor their desire that we live a good and godly life. In this church we are privileged to walk in the footsteps of some godly people who paved the road of holiness for us. They set a standard of living that we would do well to honor and uphold.
Joseph honored the legacy of his father and carried his corpse home to Canaan. Many years later when Joseph died, he made the same request, Gen. 50:25. His was honored as well, Ex. 13:19. Those bones were buried in Canaan by Joshua, Josh. 24:32.
It may just be that if we will honor the heritage that we have been given, others will honor the heritage we pass down. If we treat the previous generations like they are worthless, others may treat the things we have down the same way.)
Conc: Joseph was a man who had his priorities in order. He loved his family and he loved his father. He was also willing to protect his heritage.
It may be that the Lord has spoken to you on some level of your life. If He has, you should come to Him as He calls right now.
Maybe your relationship with your family needs work. Maybe your relationship with your parents needs work. Maybe you need to get with you children and let them know they are loved.
There is work to do in our homes today. We are way behind and this is a call to get busy dealing with the things that matter.