Living with Integrity - Message 6
February 27, 2022
Introduction: Continuing survey of Joseph’s life called Living with Integrity.
Genesis 43. C/R: Genesis 37:26-27; Luke 3:8
A. Today’s message is entitled, Repentance.
- Theme verse: Luke 3:8 (NLT)—“Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.…”
- Repentance = Greek mĕtanŏĕō or mĕtanŏia, which means, “to think differently or afterwards, to change one’s way” (in particular, changing one’s way of life as the result of a transformation of thought and attitude, especially, with regard to sin and righteousness, as a result of understanding God and your behavior differently).
- Last week, in Genesis 42, we focused on Joseph testing his brothers to determine their character and integrity prior to revealing his identity and attempting reconciliation.
- Joseph was not convinced of his brothers change, their repentance, so testing continues.
- He allowed his brothers to return to their home in Canaan with food for their families, though their brother, Simeon, was imprisoned in Egypt. (Genesis 42:19,24)
B. Genesis 43:1-5,8-9,15,23,33-34 (NLT)—1 But the famine continued to ravage the land of Canaan. 2When the grain they had brought from Egypt was almost gone, Jacob said to his sons, “Go back and buy us a little more food.”
3But Judah [4th oldest] said, “The man was serious when he warned us, ‘You won’t see my face again unless your brother is with you.’ 4If you send Benjamin with us, we will go down and buy more food. 5But if you don’t let Benjamin go, we won’t go either.” …
8Judah said to his father, “Send the boy with me, and we will be on our way. Otherwise we will all die of starvation—and not only we, but you and our little ones. 9I personally guarantee his safety. You may hold me responsible if I don’t bring him back to you. Then let me bear the blame forever.”… [Judah suggested selling Joseph; Genesis 37:26-27]
15So the men packed Jacob’s gifts and double the money and headed off with Benjamin. They finally arrived in Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph.… [v.18-22: Afraid of enslavement, told manager of Joseph’s household they found the money in their sacks and didn’t know who put it there; they brought it back with more money to buy more food.]
23“Relax. Don’t be afraid,” the household manager told them. “Your God, the God of your father, must have put this treasure into your sacks. I know I received your payment.” [knew Joseph’s plan] Then he released Simeon and brought him out to them. …
[v.32: Joseph invited his brothers to a feast at his palace, but sat them at their own table because Egyptians refuse to eat with Hebrews, so they wouldn’t eat with Joseph either.] 33Joseph told each of his brothers where to sit, and to their amazement, he seated them according to age, from oldest to youngest. 34And Joseph filled their plates with food from his own table, giving Benjamin five times as much as he gave the others. [Would favoritism like their father’s provoke jealousy?] So they feasted and drank freely with him.
II. Recognizing repentance… (Genesis 44)
Joseph continues to demonstrate steps to reconciliation of a broken relationship.
When someone has hurt you, but apologizes, forgive instantly, but before reconciling, observe responses and watch actions to determine whether change has occurred.
A. #1 - Answer accusations humbly. (Genesis 44:1-10. C/R: Galatians 6:1; James 1:20; 1 Peter 2:12)
- Joseph formulated another test for his brothers that included direct confrontation.
- Genesis 44:1-5,7-10 (NLT)—1 When his brothers were ready to leave, Joseph gave these instructions to his palace manager: “Fill each of their sacks with as much grain as they can carry, and put each man’s money back into his sack. 2Then put my personal silver cup at the top of the youngest brother’s sack, along with the money for his grain.” [targeted Benjamin] So the manager did as Joseph instructed him. [Repeated ruse, but ensured they would be caught, so their responses could be seen.]
3The brothers were up at dawn and were sent on their journey with their loaded donkeys. 4But when they had gone only a short distance and were barely out of the city, Joseph said to his palace manager, “Chase after them and stop them. When you catch up with them, ask them, ‘Why have you repaid my kindness with such evil? 5Why have you stolen my master’s silver cup [not in Hebrew], which he uses to predict the future? What a wicked thing you have done!’”… [v.6: Palace manager caught and confronted.]
7“What are you talking about?” the brothers responded. “We are your servants and would never do such a thing! 8Didn’t we return the money we found in our sacks? We brought it back all the way from the land of Canaan. Why would we steal silver or gold from your master’s house? 9If you find his cup with any one of us, let that man die. [Not required by Old Testament or Egyptian law.] And all the rest of us, my lord, will be your slaves.” [So sure of innocence, they offered the thief to die, the rest to become slaves.]
10“That’s fair,” the man replied. “But only the one who stole the cup will be my slave. The rest of you may go free.”
- They responded to the accusation by offering an explanation honestly and humbly.
- They didn’t express angry outrage over the accusation, though they felt it was false.
- The way a person responds to confrontation reveals whether repentance is occurring.
- When we repent, we have a great awareness and remorse over our guilt, so we do not become angry even when an accusation of wrong is excessive or unfair.
- An enraged denial suggests guilt, not innocence. (If you’re innocent, why so upset?)
- APP.: When questioned about an offense, do you become angry or defensive?
B. #2 - Accept examination willingly. (Genesis 44:11-13. C/R: Proverbs 28:13; James 5:19-20)
- Genesis 44:11-13 (NLT)—11They all quickly took their sacks from the backs of their donkeys and opened them. 12The palace manager searched the brothers’ sacks, from the oldest to the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack! [He was aware of the plot.] 13When the brothers saw this, they tore their clothing in despair. [Old Testament gesture of anguish.] Then they loaded their donkeys again and returned to the city.
- The brothers eagerly opened their sacks since they were so sure that nothing stolen would be found there—but it was!
- Their willingness to be examined was evidence of their innocence; they were tricked!
- When we are accused of some wrong, such as dishonesty or immorality, immediately allow the accuser access to your “sack,” which might include our phones, computers, checkbooks, mail, email and online accounts.
- APP.: When spouse wants to know passwords to devices and accounts, do you provide them? Offering access presents proof of innocence and protection from temptation.
C. #3 - Admit sin honestly. (Genesis 44:14-17. C/R: 2 Corinthians 7:11; James 5:16)
- Genesis 44:14-16 (NLT)—14Joseph was still in his palace when Judah and his brothers arrived, and they fell to the ground before him. [3rd time] 15“What have you done?” Joseph demanded. “Don’t you know that a man like me can predict the future?”
16Judah answered, “Oh, my lord, what can we say to you? How can we explain this? How can we prove our innocence? God is punishing us for our sins. My lord, we have all returned to be your slaves—all of us, not just our brother who had your cup in his sack.”
- These men had changed! Judah expressed guilt, not for stealing, they didn’t, the money or Joseph’s silver cup [not in Hebrew], but they believed God was using this situation to punish them, to expose their sin.
- They were innocent of this particular offense, but guilty of a far greater sin—selling their brother, which, they thought, likely led to his death.
- The brothers were willing to be punished by enslavement, not for theft of money, but for the theft of their brother’s life.
- We repent when our sin is exposed by the Holy Spirit! We see ourselves as God does!
- We don’t justify, excuse, minimize, or blame others for our wrongs; we confess willingly, wanting to rid ourselves of the behavior that separates us from God!
- We will accept punishment as deserved; we don’t cry, “That’s not fair!”
- APP.: When confronted, do we confess guilt and accept correction, or try to escape?
- Genesis 44:17 (NLT)—“No,” Joseph said. “I would never do such a thing! Only the man who stole the cup will be my slave. [Benjamin] The rest of you may go back to your father in peace.”
D. #4 - Authenticate change through actions. (Genesis 44:18-34. C/R: John 15:13; Romans 6:11-13; 1 John 3:16)
- Genesis 44:18,30-32 (NLT)—18Then Judah stepped forward and said,… 30“And now, my lord, I cannot go back to my father without the boy. Our father’s life is bound up in the boy’s life. 31If he sees that the boy is not with us, our father will die. We, your servants, will indeed be responsible for sending that grieving, white-haired man to his grave. 32My lord, I guaranteed to my father that I would take care of the boy. I told him, ‘If I don’t bring him back to you, I will bear the blame forever.’”
- Remember, Judah recommended Joseph be sold into slavery (Genesis 37:26-27).
- Here, he is concerned about returning Benjamin to his father, Jacob, who favored him as his youngest son and the only remaining son of his favorite wife, Rachel.
- If Judah was resentful toward Benjamin, because of his father’s favoritism, intensified by Joseph’s preference (food; Genesis 43:34), he would have allowed him to be enslaved.
- Concern for Benjamin and compassion for Jacob is evidence of a repentant heart!
- Then Judah displayed the clearest evidence of his changed life!
- Genesis 44:33-34 (NLT)—33“So please, my lord, let me stay here as a slave instead of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. 34For how can I return to my father if the boy is not with me? I couldn’t bear to see the anguish this would cause my father!”
- Judah offered to accept Benjamin’s punishment; he would sacrifice himself so his brother could return home to his father!
- When the Holy Spirit does a work of repentance within us, we change, in our thinking, then in our actions, from being self-centered to being self-sacrificing.
- APP.: Would you be willing to sacrifice yourself so another person could be set free?
- Judah did for his brother and Jesus did for you!
Baptism today at 2 PM at South Campus!
Memory verse: 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NLT)—For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death.