The Reformation of Judah, Brother of Joseph


Series: Life of Joseph

Title: 6. The Reformation of Judah, Brother of Joseph Genesis 43: How to respond when you've been wronged. #forgiveness


  • 2016-02-27: White Rock Lake

  1. Introduction
    1. How do you respond when you’ve been in the wrong?
    2. Review:
      1. Joseph’s brothers go to Egypt to buy grain, and meet Joseph without realizing who he is.
      2. Joseph inquires about his family, pretending to think the brothers are spies.
      3. Joseph holds Simeon in custody until the brothers return with Benjamin. He’s planning to test the brothers to find out whether they’ve changed.
      4. Joseph surreptitiously returns the brothers’ money, which causes them great consternation when they find it.
      5. They return home and tell their father Jacob of their experiences and that they must take Benjamin with them to Egypt.
      6. Jacob flatly refuses to send Benjamin.
      7. Key point: The brothers view their experience as divine retribution for their treatment of Joseph.
  2. The Story: Recovering from Wrongdoing
    1. Take responsibility and make restitution where possible
      1. The two sons of Jacob who played a special role in Jacob’s capture now feature in this story.
        1. Reuben:
          1. Had suggested that, rather than killing Joseph, they should throw him into a pit. He had intended to rescue Joseph. However, he was apparently absent when the brothers decided to sell Joseph into slavery.
            1. Genesis 42:37: Reuben first offers his sons as a guarantee of Benjamin’s safety.
            2. Jacob isn’t persuaded.
        2. Judah
          1. Selling Joseph into slavery had been Judah’s idea, since it would be more profitable than killing him.
            1. Chapter 38 shows that Judah was far from being an honorable man
            2. Genesis 43:1-10: Now, Judah offers himself to his father as a guaranty of Benjamin’s safety.
      2. Reuben—and especially Judah—seem to now have a changed spirit. Instead of deadly envy toward Benjamin, Judah offers himself as a guaranty. In a way, it’s a form of restitution.
      3. The brothers are beginning to take responsibility—though the process is as yet unfinished.
      4. When we come to the point of recognizing that we have been wrong, the first steps are to take responsibility for our actions and make restitution to the extent possible.
      5. Think of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:8)
    2. Don’t let guilt blind you to reality
      1. Genesis 43:15-25: When Joseph sees Benjamin, he immediately makes preparations for lunch together at his house.
        1. The brothers react fearfully, because their guilt has blinded them to reality.
        2. However, they are to be treated kindly (though as we will see in the next chapter, this is also a test)
      2. Sometimes, after we’ve repented of wrongdoing, taken responsibility, and made restitution where possible, we still feel guilty.
        1. Once we’ve done our part, we have no more guilt before God.
        2. Micah 7:18, 19: God’s forgiveness is complete.
        3. Continuing to beat ourselves up only prevents us from growing.
        4. We have the power to choose how we think, and thus to take control over our emotional state.
    3. Be reconciled and move on
      1. Genesis 43:26-34: This is the beginning of reconciliation
      2. Peek forward: Genesis 45:9-11: Time to move on
      3. Sin breaks relationships; forgiveness restores them.
      4. 2 Corinthians 5:17-20: Reconciliation is a ministry.
        1. It restores earthly relationships.
        2. It brings us into fellowship with God.
  3. Conclusion