Summary: The past had shattered Joseph’s ability to trust his brothers. In order to trust his brothers, Joseph needed to know and believe two things –
“When Life is the Pits”
A Study of the Life of Joseph
Sermon # 8
“Dealing With Rebuilding Trust!”
Genesis 43:15-34, 44:1-14
Trust is a valuable commodity, it is hard to obtain and easy to lose. Trust is one of the most significant ingredients in all of human relationships. Who among us has not suffered from its loss. Perhaps it has been from something we have done or said that others have suffered a loss of trust in us and we have been trying to rebuild that lost trust. Or perhaps we have been on the other side and someone has done something that has shattered our trust in them.
“One problem I remember was a time when our son Bob broke our trust and lied to his mother and me. He was still young, dating Linda, his wife-to-be, and was only allowed to see her on certain nights. Well, one night he wanted to see her without permission and told us he was at his friend’s house. When we found out the truth, there was a real scene between us. He had violated our trust; it was like a crack in a fine cup that marred its appearance.
In the confrontation, I smashed a fine English tea cup on the floor and told Bob that to restore our trust would be like gluing that cup back together again. He said, "I don’t know if I can do that." And I said, "Well, that’s how hard it is to build confidence and trust again." The outcome was that Bob spent literally weeks carefully gluing the pieces together until he finished. He learned a very important lesson.” (Dr. Robert H. Schuller, Homemade, Jan 1985.)
The past had shattered Joseph’s ability to trust his brothers. In order to trust his brothers, Joseph needed to know and believe two things – that they were telling him the whole truth and that they were truly sorry for what they had done, both before God and man.
As we take up with this segment of Joseph’s story, Simeon is still being held in prison in Egypt and Jacob’s other sons having exhausted their provisions obtain on their previous trip, are returning once again to Egypt with their youngest brother, Benjamin. They hope to prove to the Egyptian ruler the trustworthiness of their word, to prove that they were not spies, to ransom Simeon from prison and to obtain more food. They are in addition bringing back the money that they had found in their sack on their original journey, in accordance with the instructions of their father, they brought double the amount, along with some very special gifts (43:11-12).
Finally they arrive and I am sure that their hearts were full of questions. “Will the Egyptian prime minister believe us about the money? Will he release Simeon as he has promised or will we be all thrown in prison? Will he let us return in peace with food for our families?” Surely with questions and others echoing in their minds they were trembling with anxiety as what fate awaited them in Egypt. The same fear that gripped them when they found the money in their bags on the return trip from Egypt, gripped them now. We pick up with our story in verse fifteen, “So the men took that present and Benjamin, and they took double money in their hand, and arose and went down to Egypt; and they stood before Joseph. (16) 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.” (17) Then the man did as Joseph ordered, and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house.
To their great surprise, when they arrived in Egypt they were taken to Joseph’s private mansion. They were absolutely terrified that Joseph was going to have them thrown into prison also. In verse 18 we are told, “ Now the men were afraid because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, “It is 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 seize us, to take us as slaves with our donkeys.” Proverbs 28:1 says, “the Wicked flee when no one pursues.” A guilty conscience does strange things to our minds.
The brothers wasted no time in taking the steward aside, the same man who had handled their earlier transaction and explained how they had found that their money had been returned. Verses 20 through 22 tells us, “When they drew near to the steward of Joseph’s house, they talked with him at the door of the house, (20) and said, “O sir, we indeed came down the first time to buy food; (21) but it happened, when we came to the encampment, that we opened our sacks, and there, each man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight; so we have brought it back in our hand. (22) And we have brought down other money in our hands to buy food. We do not know who put our money in our sacks.”