Redemption – Genesis 45

So there Joseph and his brothers are, standing there, weeping, repenting, forgiving.

But what God wanted to do wasn’t finished.

God didn’t allow Joseph’s brother to sell him into slavery, serve in Potiphar’s house, be betrayed by Potiphar’s wife, serve in prison, be betrayed again, be remembered and raised to a high position just to forgive his brothers.

No, it was to save a nation, a people God had called to himself. And what a salvation it was! 

Can you imagine the scene? Jacob is sitting in his tent, wondering if his sons would ever return. He’d heard about the Egyptian named Zaphenath-paneah who had talked so harshly to his sons, throwing them into jail, keeping one son even now, while demanding his last son, Benjamin, also come to Egypt. He had lost so much, and if he lost the rest of his sons, the vision from God passed through generations would never come true. Jacob may have regretted giving in to Judah and lettering Benjamin go.

Jacob, who had twelve sons, might die a failure, without any sons.

And then the news…a cloud of dust on the horizon. Egyptian camels and wagons heading towards him. He squints against the sun. Were his sons with them, or was Egypt coming to collect the little food and wealth Jacob had not sent with his boys. Was this the end? Was he a failure?

And then to find out, it was just the beginning…

Eleven sons returned, telling him the twelfth son was still alive – the son he had mourned for years, whom he had no hope to return. Not only was Joseph alive, but he was the dreaded “Zaphenath-paneah,” second only to Pharoah in all of Egypt. Pharoah himself had sent the wagons, to reunite the family.  And in the midst of a famine, Pharoah had promised, “Have no concern for your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.

Take it all in, Jacob…

And no wonder Jacob’s “heart was numb.”  I’m surprised he didn’t die on the stop! As he looked and listened, he started to believe. And then, without hesitation he said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”

There have been times, in my despair, I’ve seen a cloud of dust over the horizon, not knowing if it would be more bad news. And even when it’s good news, like salvation through Jesus, it’s hard to take it all in…  

But if we take it in, the good news of salvation, it opens a whole new world! 

Sum of “Some” – Psalm 107

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
For his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so
Whom he has redeemed from trouble…(v1-2)

How do you digest a long Psalm like Psalm 107?

Thankfully, the Psalmist helps us, first with his beginning. It’s the motivation for him to write the Psalm as well as our introduction to the Psalm. And it’s his conclusion wrapped up in the introduction — it’s God’s steadfast love that redeems us!

And how do we get in trouble?

Some wandered into desert wastes,
Finding no way to a city to dwell in; (v4)

Mankind was not made to live in isolation, physically or emotionally. We need others in our lives.

What does God do?

For he satisfies the longing soul, 
and the hungry soul he fills with good things. (v9) 

How else are we in trouble?

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
Prisoners in affliction and in irons,
For the rebelled against the words of God 
and spurned the counsel of the Most High. (v10-11)

Some of us are caught in darkness brought on by rebellion, resulting in punishment as society rejects what we have done.

What does God do?

He delivered from their distress.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And burst their bonds apart. (v14b-15)

And what other kinds of trouble needs redemption?

Some were fools through their sinful ways,
And because of their iniquities suffered affliction. (v17)

And some of us are suffering the results of our sin that we have gotten away with – you know, those little ones like gluttony, alcoholism, hatred, lust and so on which eat us up from the middle out.

He sent out his word and healed them, 
And delivered them from their destruction. (v20)

And how about one more “some” that really hits home?

Some went down to the sea in ships,
Doing business on the great waters; (v23)

All of us who are trying to gather wealth on our own, going up and down with the stock markets, watching our retirement funds dwindle, this is for us…

He delivered them from their distress.
He made the storm be still,
And the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
And he brought them to their desired haven. (v28b-30) 

The sum of “some” equals all of us. We have all sinned. We need to call on his name. We need his redemption.

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
Let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD. (v43)