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September 26, 2020 12:01 am
Praying with faith doesn't necessarily assume that God will give us what we ask for. Instead, we are to lay the request in His hands and trust Him for the outcome. Today, R.C. Sproul observes what led Jacob to finally send his sons back to Egypt.
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Joseph occupied the office of governor in Egypt and he said his brothers back to their father Jacob to get the beloved son Benjamin just another twist and turn in the life of Joseph. That's next on Renewing Your Mind. Joseph was sold in the slavery and set languishing in the Egyptian prison opening interpreted the troubling dream that elevated them to the highest levels of government. When Joseph's brothers came to Egypt looking for food. Joseph required that Simeon stay while the other brothers went back for Benjamin.
It seemed like a hopeless situation, but of course we know is not. Dr. RC Sproul and the legendary Woody Hayes, the head coach of Ohio State University had a reputation for developing an offense that basically was a ball control offense featuring the fullback running up the middle.
In fact, one of the little expressions that came out of Columbus was high diddled Biddle the fullback up the middle and once television commentator asked Woody Hayes why don't you pass more often, and Woody Hayes said well the reason we don't have a passing attack is when you pass the football three things can happen and two of them are bad they didn't like the percentages of three things that can happen. Of course, were the completed past the incomplete class were good bad and interception which is worse that doesn't consider the sack and that's that sort of calamity that also follows that every football coach knows that no matter how determined you are to apply a conservative style of football.
Two things can alter that game plan dramatically and they are simply lists the score and the clock. If you find yourself in the middle of the fourth quarter two touchdowns behind. Even Woody Hayes will fill the air with footballs and other words, the more desperate the situation, the more risks you have to take in order to succeed, and that's what we discover in the decision of Jacob to change his mind about letting his sons make a return journey to Egypt. He had protested vehemently at the suggestion of his sons that they return to the court of Pharaoh and seek the release of their brother Simeon and seek more grain and Jacob said no until the intensity of the famine became so severe that he was left with no option.
And so we pick up the narrative in chapter 43 of Genesis where Jacob relents and says go back and buy us a little food in verse three of chapter 43. He says we read Judas spoke to him, saying the man solemnly warned us saying you shall not see my face unless your brother is with you if you send our brother with us.
We will go down by you food, but if you will not send him we will not go down for the man said to us, you shall not see my face unless your brother is with you. Here is due to the one who inherits the kingdom from the blessing of Jacob insisting to his father. That is not good enough simply for him to send them back to Egypt. They must take Benjamin along. He reminds his father of the terms that had been established by the Prime Minister of Egypt for any hope of the release of Simeon and Israel said why did you deal so wrongly with me as to tell the man whether you still had another brother now make up was still fit to be tied and he saying to his sons why did you even tell them that that you left the brother and why did you let this happen and you can still sense and feel the anguish of Jacob at the thought of risking the loss of Benjamin but they said the man asked us pointedly about ourselves and about our family saying is your father still alive. Do you have another brother and we told him, according to these words. Could we possibly have known that he would say bring your brother – and then Judah said to Israel, his father send the land with me and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones, and I myself will be surety for him from my hand.
You shall require him if I do not bring it back to you and set him before you then let me bear the blame forever.
For if we had not lingered.
Surely by now we would've returned the second time to see what you do is say he said father we don't have time to argue about this. If we don't go down there and take Benjamin with us were all going to die not only your sons but your grandchildren as well. So let us go send the boy with this. I will be his surety. I will guarantee his safety with my own life and so their father Israel said to them, if it must be so, then do this. Take some of the best fruits of the land in your vessels carry down a present for the man a little balm a little honey splices and murder pistachio nuts and almonds. If I get a kick out of that hereditary chances let's at least father then asked a little bit grease the palm take the man some presence that might ameliorate some of his wrath. I hear that the Egyptians love are almonds and are pistachio nuts.
God has a sense of humor.
Here the pistachio nuts become part of the drama here of this development, take double money in your hand and take back in your hand the money that was returned in the mouth of your sacks. Perhaps it was an oversight. Take your brother also, and arise, go back to the main inmate God Almighty give you mercy before the man that he may release your other brother and Benjamin. If I am bereaved. I am very now we have seen the struggle of the patriarch Jacob as he is faced with this exceedingly great danger and threat to his beloved son Benjamin.
We have seen Jacob struggling with this faith doubting the promises that God had made so many years before to him to his father and to his grandfather and now in his old age. All the promises of God are meat now in this decision. Everything is at risk. This is the time for truth and finally we see Jacob, the man of faith. In March he said all right go and pray that Almighty God will preserve your brother Simeon and bring Benjamin back to us and if I am bereaved I am bereaved that die is cast in the reminds me of the experience of the three youths in in in the book of Daniel, Shadrach me shack and a Bendigo when they are threatened with being thrown into the fiery furnace by the king and they say we believe that our God can deliver us, even from the fire. But even if he doesn't, were not going to compromise. That's faith and that's what Jacob is saying I'm going to pray that God will bring a happy ending. Out of this, but if he doesn't he doesn't. If I am bereaved I am bereaved that a lot of people think that the prayer of faith is the prayer the claims. The good ending in advance and simply believes that whatever we pray for is going to come to pass as we inquire, but the true prayer of faith is the prayer of faith that puts the request in the hands of God and trusts God for the outcome. And that's what Jacob does okay go on this perilous journey.
Pray that God Almighty will do what we wanted to do, but if he doesn't he doesn't and will face that when it comes. So the men took the present and Benjamin and they took double money in their hand and they arose and went down to Egypt and they stood before Joseph. When Joseph saw Benjamin with them. He said to the steward of his house take these men to my home and slaughter an animal and make ready for these men will dine with me at noon and the man did as Joseph ordered, and the man brought the men into Joseph's house now. The men were afraid because they were brought into Joseph's house and they said it's because of the money which was returned in our sacks the first time that we are brought in so that he may make a case against us and sees us to take us the slaves with our donkeys business incredible Joseph sees Benjamin can imagine the emotion it's welling up in his soul to see his little brother for the first time in 20 some years and he says to the steward. I'm not going to meet with these men in the normal place of the transaction of business in the palace. I'm going to have them for dinner at my table in my house, which is the highest honor a ruler could give to visiting guests. But when the steward notifies the brothers of Joseph that they have been invited to Joseph's home for dinner there, terrified as to all wise in doing this they can imagine that they're going to be the objects of the honor of Joseph. The fact that this is a change from the normal place of transacting business only excites greater disquiet food and apprehension in him. He thinks we stole the money he's going to capture us there and he's going to enslave us and our donkeys and everything else first 19 of chapter 43 when they drew near to the steward of Joseph's house, they talk with him at the door of the house and said no sir we indeed came down the first time to buy food, but it happened when we came back to the encampment that we opened our sacks and they are each man's money was in the mouth of his set our money in full weight so we have brought it back in her hand and we are brought down other money in our hands to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks are just as Jacob had advised them. They told the story when we were going home. The last time we were astonished to discover that the money we thought we had left behind had been restored to us and placed in our sacks, we have no idea how that happened here is that money adheres a second round of the same amount we want to make it absolutely clear to you that we have no interest in stealing anything from the Egyptians. The steward said piece be with you. Do not be afraid. How often do we hear that injunction in sacred Scripture, usually coming from the lips of an angel or from the lips of Christ himself. But here it is the steward who is the spokesman and the messenger of peace. Peace be with you. Don't be afraid your God and the God of your father has given you treasure in your sacks. I had your money what are you saying we been terrified ever since we found that money and you're telling us that our God and the God of our father had arranged for that money to be returned to us and that we have no occasion to be afraid.
Here, the steward is an Egyptian has more confidence in the hands of the problems of God than the brothers of Joseph. Then he brought Simeon out to them. Can you imagine how they felt when they saw Simeon in good health, safe, and now being restored to their midst. So the man brought the man in the Joseph's house and gave them water and they washed their feet and he gave their donkeys feet.
Then they made the present ready for Joseph's coming at noon.
For they heard that they would eat bread.
There and when Joseph came home they brought him the present, which is in their hand into the house and bow down before him to the earth. Here again, the fulfillment of the old dream that Joseph had as the men bow down before him and then he asked them about their well-being and said is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke is he still alive. They answered your servant, our father, your servants, our father, remember that the father and the mother had also bow down to Joseph in the jury, your servant, our father is in good health.
He is still alive and they bow their heads down and prostrated themselves, and then he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin and his mother's son and said is this your younger brother, of whom you spoke to me and he said God be gracious to you. My son now.
His heart yearned for his brother. So Joseph made haste and sought somewhere to weep and he went into his chamber and wept there and that he washed his face and came out and he restrained himself and said serve the bread.
This is the second time that Joseph had to interrupt his interview with his brothers because he was so overcome with emotion that he had to excuse himself to go into another room to allow the floodgate of his tears to flow freely.
These are tears of ecstasy. Tears of on bridal joy, tears of relief to see his only fool brother safe and sound and to rejoice at the news that his father was. Not only still alive, but that he was in good health. What follows them in verse 32.
Is this brief account, so they set him a place by himself and them by themselves and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves because the Egyptians could not eat food with the Hebrews for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. That's a strange twist is not but so often in the Old Testament is the Jews who were prohibited from having table fellowship with pagans and with Gentiles as part of the purification rights of their own religion.
In this case in the Egyptian culture. It was an abomination for the Egyptians to be in this kind of fellowship with juice you remember when Potiphar's wife brought the false charges against Joseph C said. How could you allow this Hebrew slave to mock me in this manner because the Hebrews were considered beneath the dignity of the Egyptians and so the segregation of the repeating arrangements takes place in verse 33.
We have a little interesting detail, and they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth, and men looked in astonishment at one another that he took surveys to them from before him. But Benjamin serving was five times as much, as any of theirs so they drank and were married within what I really astonished that this is what Joseph did. He provided an order up seating for his brothers from the firstborn to the youngest now how would the Prime Minister of Egypt. No, the respective order in the line of succession of these sentence they had to assume that he has some magical gift or supernatural insight that he could arrange the table perfectly in the order of the sons and also in those days the hospitality in the ancient world in Egypt and in the Middle East was not like it was in Rome or in Greece where when a king or prince will throw a feast in Rome or in Greece, there would be a super abundance of food set before the people at the table and then it was kind of a free-for-all.
Everybody gorge themselves with as much food as they could possibly take in and at the end there would always be a lot of waste and so this was not the custom of the Egyptians and particularly during the famine. Each person was given the exact same portion and the portion that you were distributed was the portion you were expected to consume at a meal of this sort.
But when Joseph had the meal served each person was given their allotted portion except Benjamin, who was given a five fold honor five times as much food is given to this special brother than was given to the rest. And so they drank and they were Mary with him and so now we see new note in the atmosphere of their relationship now an note of Julie is introduced into this whole Association and I'm sure that the brothers of of Joseph are feeling on their own. Some kind of emotional roller coaster.
But what follows in the rest of the story only heightens the drama that is to come and will hear what happens on the next Saturday. Addition of Renewing Your Mind. We hope you make plans to join us each week, we returned to RC Sproul series on the life of Joseph. It's an amazing story, full of intrigue. The trail and reconciliation, but there is a deeper meaning behind it all. We get to see the faithfulness of our covenant keeping God would like to send you this 20 part series. In this time of national crisis in uncertainty you.
It's good to be reminded of God's goodness bundled the series, together with some other teaching series, including the parables of Jesus knowing Scripture, Ecclesiastes, Galatians, and knowing Christ. There are eight series and the set that we call the RC Sproul teaching collection you can request it with a gift of any amount. You'll find us firstname.lastname@example.org you can also call us to make a request and give your gift at 800-435-4343. When we study Scripture when we read narratives like this were reminded of where to turn in uncertain times. We know that the Lord never changes and that he's always building his church. The fundamental need of every soul remains unchanged. That's why were thankful for your gifts during this difficult time. Through this daily program online teaching series DVDs, books and conferences. Your gift of any amount helps people know who God is. So were grateful. Well, Jacob understood God's unchanging goodness in times of trial and with that in mind, let's listen to a final thought from RC we read this account of Jacob's struggle with the great danger and peril to which he must subject Benjamin and the rest of his sons, with respect to this return trip to Egypt. I love his final statement after he prays for the well-being of the mission, he says, if I am bereaved I am bereaved.
There is a tremendous release that comes in a Christian's life when after struggling through the various fears that face us and paralyze us from taking steps into danger. There is this release that comes from the decision to go ahead and to entrust the future to God saying if things turn out well that's terrific but if not, if we are bereaved we are re-this captures the teaching of the apostle Paul in the New Testament who learn whatever state he was in to be content.
And he learned how to be abased, and he learned how to abound and he learned how to place his life in the hands of God.
Will Jacob be bereaved.
What is next Saturday. As we continued on to RC Sproul series on the life of Joseph