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Hello! Welcome to Episode 3 of the Faith Chase Podcast. I’m Heather Tabata, and this podcast is about making our faith real in everyday life.
I really appreciate the people who have joined in so far, and if this is your first episode, welcome! Last week we talked about Genesis 25-42, and this week we’ll be in Genesis 43-Exodus 12. Already through the first book of the Bible and well into the second!
Last week ended with the cliffhanger of Joseph hiding money in his brothers’ sacks of grain when they were on their way back home.
So Simeon is in Egypt and the brothers head on home. They told Jacob about everything that had happened, how Simeon was still there, and how Joseph told them to bring Benjamin back. Then they opened the sacks of grain and guess what? There’s the money!
Jacob was really upset. He said that Joesph was gone, Simeon was gone, and now they wanted to take Benjamin. Jacob told them that he wasn’t going to send Benjamin back with them, so they didn’t do anything.
When they’d eaten the food they bought in Egypt, Jacob told them to go back and buy more. The brothers told him again that they had to take Benjamin, and Jacob didn’t want to send him.
Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. I myself will be surety for him; from my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever. – Genesis 43:8-9
Years ago when they’d thrown Joseph in the pit, Judah was the brother who spoke up and said they should sell him instead. Eventually they persuaded Jacob to let them take Benjamin with them. Jacob sent money for more food, the money that had been put back in their sacks, and gifts to take on the way.
When Joseph saw them coming, he told his steward to get a meal ready because they were going to eat with him in his house.
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.” – Genesis 43:18
I would have been scared too! They talked to Joseph’s steward and tried to explain what had happened with the money before. He told them not to worry, that their God had given it to them, and brought Simeon to them.
When Joseph came back home to eat, he asked his brothers how they were doing and how their father was. He saw Benjamin and got very emotional.
Now his heart yearned for his brother; so Joseph made haste and sought somewhere to weep. And he went into his chamber and wept there. Then he washed his face and came out; and he restrained himself, and said, “Serve the bread.” – Genesis 43:30-31
They ate together, and then Joseph told his steward to put food in their sacks with their money and to put his cup in Benjamin’s sack. In the morning, the brothers start back home. But before they are far away, Joseph sends his steward to catch up to them and ask him why they took the cup.
Look, we brought back to you from the land of Canaan the money which we found in the mouth of our sacks. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.” – Genesis 44:8-9
You’d think that after the last trip, when the money ended up in their sacks and they didn’t know how, they wouldn’t have been as quick to say they didn’t have it, and especially not to stake their lives on it. So the servant looked through their sacks, starting with the oldest brother, and ending with the youngest – Benjamin. And that’s where it was.
The brothers tore their clothes, which was something people did then when they were extremely upset or worried. They went back to the city.
Joseph asked them what they had done. Judah said that they couldn’t clear themselves, and that God knew their sin. Maybe he was remembering what they’d done to Joseph. Judah said that they were all Joseph’s slaves.
Joseph disagreed, and said that he would only keep Benjamin as a slave, and the rest of them could go.
Judah begged Joseph not to do that.
“Now therefore, when I come to your servant my father, and the lad is not with us, since his life is bound up in the lad’s life, it will happen, when he sees that the lad is not with us, that he will die. So your servants will bring down the gray hair of your servant our father with sorrow to the grave. Genesis 44:30-31
Judah said that he would stay instead of Benjamin, because he couldn’t do that to his father.
Then Joseph told everyone to leave them, and he told his brothers who he was. They were afraid, but Joseph was gracious to them.
But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. – Genesis 45:5-8
I love Joseph’s perspective here. He could have been bitter after everything he’d been through, but he wasn’t. He saw how God arranged things for a bigger purpose than they could have seen at the time. Joseph told them to go home and get their families and move to Egypt and he would see that they were taken care of.
When they got back to Jacob and told him, he didn’t believe them at first. But they’d brought carts from Egypt to move their families, and he finally did. There were 70 of them who went to Egypt.
On the way, God spoke to Jacob.
So He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will put his hand on your eyes.” – Genesis 46:3-4
God reminded Jacob of his promise to make their family a great nation. God always does keep His promises. He’d made the same promise to Abraham, and Abraham didn’t see it happen. Neither did Isaac. But that didn’t mean it wasn’t coming.
Joseph went to meet his father, and they were reunited. I’ve wondered why, in all the time that he was in Egypt, Joseph didn’t send his father a message or something. Maybe Joseph wondered why Jacob didn’t come find him.
Joseph told Pharaoh his family had come.
The land of Egypt is before you. Have your father and brothers dwell in the best of the land; let them dwell in the land of Goshen. And if you know any competent men among them, then make them chief herdsmen over my livestock.” – Genesis 47:6
Jacob actually met Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed him. Jacob and his family settled in Goshen, and Joseph kept taking care of the people during the famine.
Jacob gave his blessing to his sons and died in Egypt. When he passed, his sons were afraid that Joseph would get even with them. They sent messengers and asked his forgiveness.
Joseph told them not to be afraid.
But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. – Genesis 50:20
Joseph died in Egypt too, and he made his family promise that when God brought them out of Egypt, that they would take his bones with them.
Eventually, the Pharaoh who knew Joseph died, and the Israelites were slaves to the Egyptians. The new Pharaoh was afraid that the Israelites would revolt against them.
Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses. – Exodus 1:11
So, the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, but God was still with them. Their nation kept growing, and the Pharaoh was afraid of them. He told the midwives that when the Hebrew women had children, if the baby was a boy, to kill him. The midwives were God-fearing though, so they didn’t do it, and God blessed them for it. God tells us to obey the people who have authority over us, but when we’re told to do something wrong, our first responsibility is to God.
Then Pharaoh commanded them to drown any sons who were born. One Hebrew woman who had a son hid him as long as she could. When he was three months old, she wove an ark, put the baby in it, and put the basket next to the river bank.
Pharaoh’s daughter came to the river and saw the baby. She knew he was a Hebrew, and she felt sorry for him. The baby’s sister had waited nearby, and she offered to get a nurse for the baby. Pharaoh’s daughter told her to do it, and the girl brought her mother back. Pharaoh’s daughter told the woman to take care of him for her, so she took him home to nurse him until he was older. When she brought the boy back to Pharaoh’s daughter, she raised him as her son, and she called him Moses.
When Moses grew up, he saw how hard the Hebrews were having to work as slaves. He watched an Egyptian beating a Hebrew. There was nobody else around, and Moses killed the Egyptian. After that, he saw two Hebrews fighting, and the one who was in the wrong asked if Moses was going to kill him like the Egyptian. Moses was afraid and he ran to Midian, which is in the area of Saudi Arabia. While he was there, he married a Midianite woman named Zipporah and had a son.
In the meantime, that Pharaoh died, and the Israelites cried out to God because of their slavery.
So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. - Exodus 2:24
I think it’s interesting how the Bible points out that God heard the Israelites. He would have known what they suffered anyway, but He paid attention when they asked Him for help. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a burning bush and talked with him.
And the LORD said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. – Exodus 3:7
God told Moses He was going to bring them out from under the Egyptians and take them to a good land. He told Moses to go to Pharaoh and lead the people out of Egypt. Moses wasn’t all that excited about the plan.
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” – Exodus 3:11
This would have been a terrifying order, but God was telling Moses directly what to do. God promised to be with him and told Moses again to go to Pharaoh and lead the Israelites out.
Then Moses said to the LORD, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” So the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the LORD? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” – Exodus 4:10-12
This is twice Moses has talked back to God about doing what He said. Of course God would know if Moses wasn’t a good orator. So why does Moses try to find excuses in weaknesses that God knew about before He told him to go?
But maybe we do that sometimes. Maybe there’s an opportunity to do something, but what we focus on are the reasons we can’t. Maybe we need to focus on the reasons God can.
So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.” - Exodus 5:22-23
And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.” - Exodus 7:5
But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth. - Exodus 9:16
And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover. ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. Exodus 12:11-13
And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. - Exodus 12:22-23
Then he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, “Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the LORD as you have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also.” And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, “We shall all be dead.” - Exodus 12:31-33