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Acknowledge Broken Relationships Gen, 42:6 -7, 9, 13-24a May 4:2008

    How many Christians do you know who never experienced broken relationships? It is sad that many relationships take place in a family or church setting. It will be good for us to learn how God works through brokenness to perform a mighty work in the life of everyone involved. All of us need to Acknowledge Broken Relationships and seek God's guidance to repair them. Revival in our lives, families, and churches, may be greatly blessed as we do.

1. Acknowledge Broken Relationships . . Evaluating The Past. Gen. 42:6-7, 9

A. Evaluate . . Meeting And Acknowledging Relationships Of The Past. 42:6-7
6 Joseph was in charge of the country; he sold grain to all its people. His brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the ground. 7 When Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he treated them like strangers and spoke harshly to them. "Where do you come from?" he asked. "From the land of Canaan to buy food," they replied.

B. Evaluate . . Memories And Acknowledging Relationships Of The Past. 42:9
9 Joseph remembered his dreams about them and said to them, "You are spies. You have come to see the weakness of the land."

        What immediate reaction did Joseph experience as he saw his brothers; anger, joy, unbelief, amazement? It had been 22 years since they sold him into slavery, and now they meet. Joseph recognizes them but they do not recognize him. No doubt both had changed, and the position and authority of Joseph probably disguised him. It may be true that he thought more about them than they thought about him although they must have experienced regret for their actions. I venture a guess that he thought of the many memories these brothers were responsible for; but they also must have relived their actions. Even if this is true Joseph knew God worked through all these thoughts and actions to perform a mighty work.

2. Acknowledge Broken Relationships . . Explore The Present. Gen. 42:13-21

A. Explore The Present . . Confrontation Of Broken Relationships. 42:13
13 But they replied, "We, your servants, were 12 brothers, the sons of one man in the
land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one is no longer living."

B. Explore The Present . . Confinement Of Broken Relationships. 42:14-16
14 Then Joseph said to them, "I have spoken: 'You are spies!' 15 This is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of your number to get your brother. The rest of you will be imprisoned so that your words can be tested to see if they are true. If they are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!"

C. Explore The Present . . Confirmation Of Broken Relationships. 42:17-20
17 So Joseph imprisoned them together for three days. 18 On the third day Joseph said to them, "I fear God--do this and you will live. 19 If you are honest men, let one of you be confined to the guardhouse, while the rest of you go and take grain to relieve the hunger of your households. 20 Bring your youngest brother to me so that your words can be confirmed; then you won't die." And they consented to this.

D. Explore The Present . . Contrition Of Broken Relationships. 42:21
21 Then they said to each other, "It is plain that we are being punished for what we did to our brother. We saw his deep distress when he pleaded with us, but we would not listen. That is why this trouble has come to us."

        Joseph confronted his brothers and obtained additional information about his father and younger brother. I think Joseph enjoyed tantalizing his brothers and at the same time gaining information about home. The information about his father and brother, Benjamin, must have produced great joy that was difficult to conceal. In order to gain more information he design an immediate plan of confinement for all his brothers but after three days, "the fear of God" caused him to change the plan and only confine one brother for a lengthy imprisonment. Joseph desired a confirmation that these brothers told the truth. Their contrition after all these years must have impressed him, but after what they did to him; can he trust them? The brothers consented to his second offer but what other choice did he give them? He made an offer they couldn't refuse. Didn't he?

3. Acknowledge Broken Relationships . . Estimating For The Future. Gen. 42:22-24

A. Estimate The Future . . Rehearsing The Past Of Broken Relationships. 42:22-23
22 But Reuben replied: "Didn't I tell you not to harm the boy? But you wouldn't listen. Now we must
account for his blood!" 23 They did not realize that Joseph understood them, since there was an interpreter between them.

B. Estimate The Future . . Regretting The Past Of Broken Relationships. 42:23-24
24 He turned away from them and wept. Then he turned back and spoke to them. He took Simeon from
them and had him bound before their eyes.

        The brothers of Joseph believed the judgment of God caused their present difficulty. Ruben rehearsed his attempt to get his brothers to not proceed with their plan, but to no avail, and now they are reliving their decision. They did this with regret. Do you think Joseph sort of enjoyed hearing their regret even though he realized God used it for everyone's benefit? Joseph must have relived the events his brothers spoke of and to a degree also regret. All of us can learn from the action of Joseph's brothers as well as from Joseph's dealing with them as we may Acknowledge Broken Relationships, and try to understand how God might use them. Amen? Amen!