Turning Trauma Into Triumph
October 31, 2021
When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.” Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. (Genesis 42:1-4)
So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan also. Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he asked. “From the land of Canaan,” they replied, “to buy food.” Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. Then he remembered his dreams about them… (Genesis 42:5-9)
He remembered the dreams of his teenage years; he concealed his identity; and he began the process of probing their conscience.
Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”“No, my lord,” they answered. “Your servants have come to buy food. We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies.” (Genesis 42:8-11)
But they replied, “Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father and one is no more. (Genesis 42:13)
And this is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. Send one of your number to get your brother; the rest of you will be kept in prison, so that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth. If you are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” And he put them all in custody for three days. (Genesis 42:15-17)
On the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison, while the rest of you go and take grain back for your starving households. But you must bring your youngest brother to me, so that your words may be verified and that you may not die.” This they proceeded to do. (Genesis 42:18-20)
They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.” Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter. (Genesis 21-23)
He turned away from them and began to weep, but then came back and spoke to them again…He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes. (Genesis 42:24)
True reconciliation always involves repentance.
…their hearts sank and they turned to each other and said, “What is this that God has done to us?” (Genesis 42:28)
They became the recipients of an undeserved expression of grace.
“The man…” (Genesis 43:3)
But Judah said to him, “The man warned us solemnly, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ If you will send our brother along with us, we will go down and buy food for
you. But if you will not send him, we will not go down, because the man said to us, ‘You will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’” Israel asked, “Why did you bring this trouble on me by telling the man you had another brother?” They replied, “The man questioned us closely about ourselves and our family. ‘Is your father still living?’ he asked us. ‘Do you have another brother?’ We simply answered his questions. How were we to know he would say, ‘Bring your brother down here’?” Genesis 43:3-7)
Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the boy along with me and we will go at once, so that we and you and our children may live and not die. I myself will guarantee his safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will bear the blame before you all my life. (Genesis 43:8-9)
When the portions were served to them from Joseph’s table, Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as anyone else’s. (Genesis 43:34)
“Joseph has now decided to put his brothers to the final test. He will place them in a position where they will be strongly tempted to treat Benjamin as they had treated him. The point of Joseph’s trial is that repentance is only complete when one knows that if he were placed in the same position, he would not act in the way he had acted before.”—Robert Sacks
“Pardon your servant, my lord, let me speak a word to my lord. (Genesis 44:18)
“Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come on my father.” (Genesis 44:33-34)
Jesus is the lion of the tribe of Judah.
Joseph said to his brothers, I am Joseph…. (Genesis 45:4) The exact Hebrew phrase looks like this: AAA-NEE YO-SAPHE
But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. (Genesis 45:3) Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me. I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt. (Genesis 45:4)
And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. (Genesis 45:5-7)
If your take on God is right, your take on life can be right, no matter what life takes.
“Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. (Genesis 50:19-21)
Derek Kidner wrote: Each sentence of this threefold reply, is a pinnacle of Old Testament and New Testament faith.
To leave all the righting of wrongs to God-Am I in the place of God?
To see God’s providing hand in man’s malice-You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.
To repay evil not only with forgiveness, but with practical affection-I will provide for you and your children.
Joseph was involuntarily turned into a savior through his suffering, but Jesus voluntarily came and chose to suffer as our Savior.
At one time all of us lived to please our old selves. We gave in to what our bodies and minds wanted. We were sinful from birth like all other people and would suffer from the anger of God. But God had so much loving-kindness. He loved us with such a great love. Even when we were dead because of our sins, He made us alive by what Christ did for us. (Eph. 2:3-5 NLV)