Sunday, 6th June 10.30 am Order of Service

WELCOME

HYMN Jesus, Lord, we look to Thee

1 Jesus, Lord, we look to thee,

Let us in thy name agree;

Show thyself the prince of peace;

Bid all strife for ever cease.

2 Make us of one heart and mind,

Courteous, full ofpitiful, kind,

Lowly, meek in thought and word,

Altogether like our Lord.

3 Let us for each other care,

Each the other’s burden bear,

To thy church the pattern give,

Show how true believers live.

4 Free from anger and from pride,

Let us thus in God abide;

All the depth of love express,

All the height of holiness.

5 Closer knit to Thee our Head

Nourish us, O Christ, and feed!

Let us daily grace receive,

More and more in Jesus live.

6 Fill us with the Father’s love

Never from our souls remove;

Dwell in us, and we shall be

Thine through all eternity

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

PRAYER

READING Genesis 45

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.

3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.

4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. 9 Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11 I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’

12 “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. 13 Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”

14 Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.

16 When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, 18 and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’

19 “You are also directed to tell them, ‘Do this: Take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come. 20 Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.’”

21 So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey. 22 To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five sets of clothes. 23 And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!”

25 So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26 They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.” Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. 27 But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 And Israel said, “I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”

SERMON Joseph’s revelation

1-8 Joseph had taken no personal enjoyment in deceiving his brothers. When he could hold back no longer, he revealed his true identity. In his words of explanation and comfort to his brothers, Joseph returned once again to the central theme of the narrative: though the brothers were responsible for Joseph’s being sold into Egypt, and though they intended “harm,” God was ultimately behind it all and had worked it out for the “good.” As he told his brothers, “It was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you,” and, “God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives.”

In the story so far, this theme has been stated by Jacob (42:2) and Judah (43:8) and has also been indirectly referred to by Joseph himself (42:18). Here, however, and in 50:20, the theme is given its full expression in the words of Joseph.

Indeed, it was not the brothers who sent Joseph to Egypt; it was God. And God had a purpose for it all. Joseph, the one ultimately responsible for initiating the plots and subplots of the story up to this point, reveals God’s plan and purpose behind it all.

Through it all he saw God’s desire to accomplish a “great deliverance.” In describing how God had taken care of him, Joseph was thinking of the brothers’ initial question regarding his dreams as a young lad (37:8). He reminded them that he had been made “ruler of all Egypt.”

9-20 In the second part of his speech, Joseph made plans to bring his father to Egypt. He twice repeated that the brothers were to go to Jacob and with all haste bring him down to Egypt. In the midst of the famine, the sons of Israel were to be well provided for in Goshen.

When the Pharaoh restated Joseph’s offer and “twice” gave the brothers the “good” (vv. 18, 20; NIV, “best”) of the land of Egypt, it is hard not to see a picture of the “good” (1:31) land given to Adam.

Joseph is looking to restoration, not just of the good fortune of Jacob, but of the blessing that was promised to the world through the offspring of Jacob.

21-28 At first, when Jacob heard the news that Joseph was alive, “his heart grew numb” (NIV, “Jacob was stunned“) and “he did not believe.” But when he heard everything that Joseph had said and saw all that he had sent to take him back to Egypt, “the spirit . . . of Jacob revived,” and he set out to go to him. A new dimension in Jacob’s faith is the contrast between his “numbed heart” and his “revived spirit.” Jacob’s lack of faith is identified with his “numbed heart”; when his spirit was renewed, however, he believed.

*******************************************

What are we to learn here?

Notice Joseph’s intimacy with his brothers – speaking a language any Egyptians wouldn’t understand. And God’s intimacy with His special children …

God was sparing a remnant, others were dying, but God was looking after one little family. The odds were not great … BUT GOD stepped in. The odds seem stacked against God’s family on earth today BUT GOD will preserve a testimony.

See God’s gracious dealings with this old man Jacob. It wasn’t because Jacob was faultless, as we know, but simply because God was kind, that He brought this reviving news to the old man. God is still kind.

PRAYER

Hymn Let praises now awake the dawn

Let praises now awake the dawn

We’ll greet Your mercy with a song

Your people stand and sing for all

Your lovingkindness

You’ve carried us in faithfulness

Upon the paths of righteousness

Our gracious King You’ve crowned us with

Your lovingkindness

CHORUS

How great is Your lovingkindness

O God of goodness

Our joy forever to sing the glad refrain

Of grace that saved us

Of sweet forgiveness

O how great is

Your lovingkindness

You lift us with a Father’s hand

You shelter us with Your commands

What heart could fully comprehend

Your mercies endless

You lead us through the shadows deep

Where doubts trace every step, it seems

But as the darkness breaks we’ll see

The morning promise

CHORUS

A life laid down to rescue us

With arms outstretched upon the cross

The greatest Gift there ever was

Of lovingkindness

A life laid down to rescue us

With arms outstretched upon the cross

The greatest Gift there ever was

Of lovingkindness

Your lovingkindness

CHORUS x2

Matt Boswell, Matt Papa, and Matt Redman © 2020 Getty Music Publishing

Benediction

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