God loves us, for real. His love is patient and kind and fully forgiving. It's humble and steadfast and hopeful. His love never quits. What if we loved like He does?
Main Text: Genesis 42:6-28; 43:16-23; 44:9-45:15; 50:15-21
A few key observations:
- God is love. This will be our focus for these 4 weeks as we look at God's interactions with humanity in Genesis.
- Here's a quick overview of the story of Joseph (his story is the vast majority of Genesis 37-50):
- Joseph was the favorite of his father's twelve sons, even having a special jacket to prove it, and his brothers hated him for it.
- Joseph had two dreams about his brothers bowing down to him, and so his brothers hated him even more.
- Eventually, his brothers saw an opportunity to get rid of him when they were out of town and away from their father. They considered killing him and blaming it on a wild animal. Then they considered just leaving him to die in a pit. Then they decided that they could sell him into slavery and make a profit—so they did.
- Joseph ends up a slave in the house of an important Egyptian named Potiphar, and his success is so great that he ends up in charge of Potiphar's whole estate.
- Then Joseph is wrongly convicted and thrown in prison.
- In prison he meets two of Pharaoh's former staff members and helps them by interpreting their dreams.
- Eventually one of the prisoners makes it back into Pharaoh's good graces and remembers Joseph when there's another important dream to interpret.
- Joseph interpret's Pharaoh's dream correctly and saves all of Egypt from starvation, so Pharaoh puts him in charge of the whole country.
- When famine strikes the whole region, ten of Joseph's brothers travels to Egypt, the only place left to buy grain.
- By this point Joseph is physically unrecognizable to his brothers who come to bow down to him and buy grain.
- Joseph sells them grain but demands they prove themselves not to be spies by bringing back their eleventh and youngest brother, Benjamin, whom they happened to mention. Joseph holds Simeon captive to force the rest to return with Benjamin.
- When the famine gets bad enough, the brothers eventually return with Benjamin to claim Simeon and buy more grain.
- Joseph sells them more grain but plants a silver cup in Benjamin's bag. He then has his men chase down the brothers to find the "stolen" cup and to demand the thief's life.
- When the cup is found in Benjamin's bag—who is the father's remaining favorite after the long grief of losing Joseph—his life is demanded as payment. However, Judah insists on giving his life for Benjamin's, if someone must die for the theft.
- Upon Judah's self-sacrifice, Joseph can no longer contain himself, and he has a joy- and tear-filled reunion with his brothers.
- The brothers return and tell their father, Jacob, that Joseph is in fact alive and well. And the whole family moves to Egypt where they flourish.
- Joseph demonstrates an unbelievable, gracious love for his brothers who betrayed him
- This love is perfect, kind, and humble. It's the kind of love that bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things. It's the kind of love that never ends. (Cf. 1 Corinthians 13)
- This is the same kind of love God has for us—for me and for you, yes really you.
- And this is the kind of love we're called to imitate as God's children.