Dirty Jobs: Tearing Down the Walls

It is as we open the door for people to change, as we start rebuilding lives rather than watch them continue to unravel that we find the true goal isn’t just between two people, but between us and God.

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Reconciliation Advances through Repentance (Gen. 50:15-20) So far in the account of Joseph, running towards reconciliation, we’ve seen testing, we’ve seen fear and cowering, but this is the first time that we get to see repentance. 15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” With Jacob’s death, we see that rebuilding a broken relationship is a process more than a pinnacle moment.16 So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: 17 ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. 18 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. 19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

They send a manufactured letter superficially on behalf of their father, but finally the brother’s throw themselves before Joseph—fulfillment of the dream he had as a boy—his brothers bowing down to him not in ignorance of his identity but in acknowledge of his faithfulness and their sin. You would think repentance would make them appear weak—and yet in their weakness they find grace. Joseph is able to put on for a moment the glasses of God—perfect 50:20 vision to see the world as God promised it would be. Continue reading “Dirty Jobs: Tearing Down the Walls”

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Dirty Jobs: Avoiding Revenge & Rebuilding

As we have seen throughout our Dirty Jobs series, our relationship with each other is a reflection of our relationship with God, there is a spiritual component to Running towards Reconciliation, but there is also a practical component.

After Joseph’s brother Judah offers to take the place of his brother Benjamin, he becomes overcome with emotion and is finally ready to reveal his true identity. In the process he shows us that:

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Reconciliation Avoids Revenge and Starts Rebuilding (Genesis 45:3-5, 8-10) Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” (Doing well?) But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. 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! 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.

If you’ve ever seen Undercover Boss, there is always that shock at the revelation that the person you’ve interacted with is something more than he appeared. But you can understand the shock and cowering response of the brothers. If this was a movie, this would be where the crowd is cheering for the brothers to get what they deserve, this is the Hatfields and McCoys, Israel versus Palestine, escalation and retaliation without end, and yet Joseph voices a theology that is the center of his life: God has ultimately been in control even when life felt out of control. Joseph has to actually draw them back because they are expecting what’s natural to come from Joseph. Continue reading “Dirty Jobs: Avoiding Revenge & Rebuilding”

Dirty Jobs: Running Towards Reconciliation

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyWWXSwtPP0

Pain of this nature can be devastating, many don’t recover from it. It harkens back to the story of Hosea in which Hosea’s wife follows a natural path of adultery, deception, and lies. Yet, beyond marriage, if we are honest, there are a host of situations that leave us seemingly cut off, distanced from a sibling, estranged from a parent, bitterly divided from an old business partner.

Today, we finish our sermon series called Dirty Jobs, looking into the story of Joseph to see if there is any hope of restoring what is so utterly broken, to see if there is the possibility of putting back together the pieces when they resemble Humpy Dumpy—all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put him back together again. Our series has taken us through some of the grittiest, nastiest, and most practical areas of our life—jealousy, lust, waiting, shepherding, and today we get into the most challenging: Running with Reconciliation. So in Genesis 44 through Genesis 50 we are going to see the road towards reconciliation.

A survey of scripture will show you just how critical this issue is to God: Jesus calls on us to be peacemakers, Hebrews exhorts us to “strive for peace,” 1 Peter talks about a love that covers a multitude of sins. So often though our response hurdles our faith and hammers back when we feel hurt, just like a man who left work one Friday afternoon. Being payday, instead of going home, he stayed out the entire weekend hunting with the boys and spent his entire paycheck. When he finally appeared at home, Sunday night, he was confronted by a very angry wife and was barraged for nearly two hours with a tirade befitting his actions.

Finally, his wife stopped the nagging and simply said to him, “How would you like it if you didn’t see me for two or three days?” To which he replied, “That would be fine with me.”

Monday went by and he didn’t see his wife. Tuesday and Wednesday came and went with the same results… Continue reading “Dirty Jobs: Running Towards Reconciliation”

Dirty Jobs: Changing Without Being Changed

Doing the dirty job of shepherding required that Joseph stepped outside of the palace and into the presence of the people he was called to serve, he had to plan with their needs in mind, and yet the final step was the most delicate balance.

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Joseph was in the culture to change it without letting it fundamentally change him! (Genesis 41:50-57) 50 Before the years of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. 51 Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh[a] and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” 52 The second son he named Ephraim[b] and said, “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” 53 The seven years of abundance in Egypt came to an end, 54 and the seven years of famine began, just as Joseph had said. There was famine in all the other lands, but in the whole land of Egypt there was food. 55 When all Egypt began to feel the famine, the people cried to Pharaoh for food. Then Pharaoh told all the Egyptians, “Go to Joseph and do what he tells you.” 56 When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. 57 And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere.

We get a glimpse into the changes in Joseph’s personal life. Continue reading “Dirty Jobs: Changing Without Being Changed”

Dirty Jobs: Planning with People in Mind

Joseph doesn’t just stop with getting to know the issues facing the people or traveling the land, he takes the proactive step of…

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Planning With the People in Mind (Gen. 41:47-49) 47 During the seven years of abundance the land produced plentifully. 48 Joseph collected all the food produced in those seven years of abundance in Egypt and stored it in the cities. In each city he put the food grown in the fields surrounding it. 49 Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea; it was so much that he stopped keeping records because it was beyond measure.

We have a tendency as Americans to plan with the short-term in mind. College students on average change their major seven times. People over 60 years old in the United States now hold 43 billion dollars in student loans. No real long-term plan. Continue reading “Dirty Jobs: Planning with People in Mind”

Dirty Jobs: Be BOLD

It is as we are faithful in all circumstances, as we prepare in the midst of less than satisfactory moments, that we get the opportunity to..

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Be Bold- (v 12-14) Joseph listened to the dreams of the cupbearer and the chief baker. The cupbearer sees grapes ripening on the vine—holding the Pharaoh’s cup in his hand squeezing out the precious liquid. While the baker has birds eating from the basket on his head, bad news that he would soon be bird food. 12 “This is what it means,” Joseph said to him. “The three branches are three days. 13 Within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your position and you will put Pharaoh’s cup in his hand, just as you used to do when you were his cupbearer. Joseph follows up his interpretation with boldness, seeing a door opened by God: 14 But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. We oftentimes hold back from being bold—because we worry about what people might think, how they might response—and yet when God is working through us, what need is there to worry? He is in control. Continue reading “Dirty Jobs: Be BOLD”

Dirty Jobs: Be Ready

Joseph instead of pouting is faithful…We start to see that waiting is a window to…

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Being Ready (v. 5-8) After they had been in custody for some time, each of the two men—the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison—had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. Remember, Joseph’s problems started with two dreams that he had shared with his brothers, and here again we see two dreams become the means of his story moving forward. When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?” “We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.” Continue reading “Dirty Jobs: Be Ready”