Word Alive! © 2020 Summer Series
We Can Get Through This!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 8 Sept., 2020
Max Lucado, “You’ll Get Through This,” Lesson 11, (Chapter 10)
Devotional Time: “You’ll Get Through This,” (pp. 99-107)
Restoration Matters – The healing of relationships, although difficult, can be one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives. The Book of Genesis is replete with many examples of broken relationships; however, many are restored after a period of time (cf. Genesis 33:3-4, NLT). The scriptures describe the human family’s ability to experience crises in relationships, and to inevitably have those relationships healed. In the devotional book, You’ll Get Through This, author Max Lucado says, “Joseph didn’t deserve to be abandoned by his brothers…His brothers were supposed to look out for him. Joseph’s next of kin were out of line. And his father? Jacob was out of touch.” Lucado is correct in view of the fact that Joseph was given special treatment by his father, and greatly despised by his brothers. Jacob, their father, never mediated the friction between his 10 older sons and Joseph. Joseph was the son born to Rachel, Joseph’s most loved spouse. Since his birth he was treated with tenderness from his parents (cf. Genesis 30:22-24, NLT). This protected status of Joseph enraged his brothers, who took the extraordinary step of selling him into slavery. Family disfunctions can lead to brokenness and pain. The prophet Micah describes how polarizing family dissonance can be. It takes God’s intervention to restore the broken family (cf. Micah 7:6-8, NLT).
God often works through a crisis to mediate change in relationships. We often think of Joseph’s brothers having to repent for their unjust treatment of him. Joseph also had to be reconciled to his brothers whom he despised for the awful way they treated him. When the famine in Canaan forced Joseph’s brothers to show up in Egypt looking for food, Joseph had been prime minister in Egypt for about eight years (cf. Genesis 42:6-7, NLT). During that period of time Joseph had the authority to seek out his family, but he chose not to. Lucado says, “He [had] perhaps eight years to set the record straight. He knew where to find his family, but choose not to contact them.” Joseph was now bilingual and chose not speak Hebrew initially with his brothers. His royal dress and regal Egyptian appearance made him unknown to his brothers; but he knew who they were. Joseph was terse in his conversation with his brothers. He had suppressed his hurt and tried to forget the past for at least 20 years! The past returned.
Reconciliation Matters – Max Lucado describes the new crisis Joseph encountered when he faced his brothers after 20 years. Lucado says, “Joseph was content to leave his past in the past. But God was not. Restoration matters to God. The healing of the heart involves the healing of the past. So God shook things up.” When we are faithful God will always “intervene” in our circumstances to bring about good. In retrospect, the scripture tells us that it was God who “sent Joseph into Egypt ahead of his people,” to save them (cf. Psalm 105:17, NLT). Joseph subjected his brothers to testing, even imprisoning them, so that they could experience some of the anguish he had encountered at their hands (cf. Genesis 42:8-11, NLT; and, Genesis 42:13, NLT). Unaware that he was their brother, Joseph’s siblings showed respect for his authority. Joseph prophesied this earlier when he shared his dreams with them. Unlike Joseph who was in prison for 13 years, Joseph showed mercy to his brothers after 3 days. He gave them the much-needed grain they sought in Egypt, but he tested them further by insisting they return with their youngest brother, Benjamin (cf. Genesis 42:17-20, NLT). It has been suggested by some that Joseph was working through the most intense part of life’s crises: the hurt of a family whom he trusted, and who should have treated him better. For twenty years Joseph suppressed his hurt and anger.
Now, face to face with the brothers who inflicted so much pain on him, Joseph was finally confronting his hurt. The brothers agreed to Joseph’s demands. For the first time, they acknowledged among themselves that they mistreated him. Their last memory of Joseph was a young brother pleading for his life (cf. Genesis 42:21, NLT)! Any of us, is prone to be hurt by others at some point in our lives. Max Lucado offers this encouragement: “You are not who they [others] said you were. You are God’s child. His creation. Destined for heaven. You are a part of His family. Let Him set you on the path of reconciliation.” Joseph’s brothers were not aware that he overheard them as they spoke among themselves in Hebrew. On seven occasions, as Joseph listened to his brothers, he stepped away from them and wept. He still had compassion for them.
What We Believe
Don’t let difficult parts of your family history determine your future.
1. Relationship pain can be healed with honesty, prayer, and work!
2. Reconciliation, not revenge, is what pleases God!
Genesis 30:22-24, NLT
“Then God remembered Rachel’s plight and answered her prayers by enabling her to have children. She became pregnant and gave birth to a son. “God has removed my disgrace,” she said. And she named him Joseph. For she said, “May the Lord add yet another son to my family.”
Micah 7:6-8, NLT
“For the son despises his father. The daughter defies her mother. The daughter-in-law defies her mother-in-law. Your enemies are right in your own household. As for me, I look to the Lord for help. I waited confidently for God to save me, and my God will certainly hear me. Do not gloat over me my enemies! For though I fall, I will rise again. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.”
Genesis 42:6-7, NLT
“Since Joseph was governor of all Egypt and in charge of selling grain to all the people, it was to him that his brothers came. When they arrived, they bowed before him with their faces to the ground. Joseph recognized his brothers instantly, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where are you from?” he demanded. “From the land of Canaan,” they replied. “We have come to buy food.”
Genesis 42:8-11, NLT
“Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they didn’t recognize him. And he re-membered the dream, he’d had about them many years before. He said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see how vulnerable our land has become.” “No, my Lord!” they exclaimed. “Your servants have simply come to buy food. We are all brothers – members of the same family. We are honest men, sir! We are not spies!”
Genesis 42:13, NLT
“Sir,” there are actually twelve of us. We, your servants, are all brothers, sons of a man living in the land of Canaan. Our youngest brother is back there with our father right now, and one of our brothers is no longer with us.”
Genesis 42:17-20, NLT
“So Joseph put them all in prison for three days. On the third day, Joseph said to them, “I am a God-fearing man. If you do as I say, you will live. If you really are honest men, choose one of your brothers to remain in prison. The rest of you may go home with grain for your starving families. But you must bring your youngest brother back to me. This will prove that you are telling the truth, and you will not die.” To this they agreed.”
Genesis 42:21, NLT”
Speaking among themselves, they said, “Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this trouble.” “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy?” Ruben asked. “but you wouldn’t listen. And now we have to answer for his blood.”