Sermon #27                    Series: Pictures of Grace in Genesis

          Title:            Joseph And His Brothers - A Picture of Grace

          Text:            Genesis 42:2-3


          Subject:       Christ’s methods of making himself known to sinners

          Date:            Tuesday Evening - February 4, 1992

          Tape #        



          God, in his wisdom uses the natural world, creatures and events, to illustrate spiritual truths and make known to us his saving grace and redemptive work in Christ Jesus. Henry Mahan wrote, “The wonders which God performs in the heart can be seen in the wonders God performs on earth and records in his Word.”


·        The Rock (1 Cor. 10:4).

·        The Brazen Serpent (John 3:14).

·        Jonah (Matt. 12:40).


          Tonight, I want you to open your Bibles to Genesis 42. My text is Genesis 42:2-3. We will begin here. But really my message will be taken from chapters 42-45. My subject tonight is Joseph And His Brothers - A Picture of Grace (Read vv. 2-3).


          Joseph’s dealings with his brothers in these next four chapters is a typical picture of the way in which the Lord Jesus Christ deals with his erring brothers, who were given to him by God the Father before the world began and redeemed by his own precious blood at Calvary.


          Again, I remind you that I do not attempt to fully expound the type before us. If you read the history of Joseph twenty times, each time you read it you will see the type more clearly and fully. Then, when you read it again, you will still find some fresh parallels between the son of Rachel and the Son of Mary, who is God over all and blessed forever.




          Tonight, I simply want to show you how that the story of Joseph and his brothers portrays the experiences of sinners, awakened by the grace of God, as they come to Christ and have him revealed to them in saving mercy.




          This famine was not only in the land of Egypt, but in all the lands, even in Canaan, where the chosen family dwelt (42:5). And the famine was the work of God (41:32).


A.  Certainly, this famine is a picture of the sin and spiritual death which is spread over all Adam’s race, even over those who are chosen of God unto salvation.


·        “Death passes upon all men, for all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12).

·        “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

·        We were by nature “Children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:3).

·        “You were without Christ, having no hope and without God” (Eph. 2:12).


          This is the condition of all men by nature, lost alienated from God, without life, and without hope. But this famine cannot be said to be the work of God. It is the fruit of sin. The famine here spoken of was the work of God! It is a famine sent and caused by God to bring his chosen ones to Joseph!


B.  When God brings his elect to Christ, he does so by causing a famine in their souls (Psa. 107:4-6, 17-21).


          No man will ever come to Christ until he is made to see that by reason of his own sin he is altogether void of life. Then, “hungry and thirsty,” fainting and drawing near to death, “they cry unto the Lord in their trouble.”


          Joseph’s brothers came to him, because God sent famine upon them!




          Jacob called his sons together and said, “Boys, we don’t have to die. I have heard that there is corn in Egypt!”


          This is the good news of the gospel preached to hungry, weary, dying sinners. You do not have to continue in your famine. Poor, hungry, dying sinners do not have to perish. There is life, mercy, and grace abundant in Christ!


·        “If any man thirst,” he says, “Come to me and drink” (John 7:37).

·        He fills the hungry with good things (Lk. 1:53).

·        Christ says, “I am the Bread of Life” (John 6:48-50).


A.  Jacob could not be sure that the rumor he heard about corn in Egypt was true. But we are sure that Christ is the Bread of Life and the Water of Life, because we have the sure Word of God (1 John 5:9-11).

B.  Jacob did not know that Joseph was on the throne in Egypt.


          He very likely had doubts about whether in fact the ruler in Egypt would let him have the corn he so desperately needed. But we are sure that all who come to Christ for mercy and grace shall obtain the grace they need.


1.    We have God’s Word for it (Heb. 4:16).

2.    our heavenly Father has given all things to Christ, our Savior.

3.    Christ, who possesses all things is the Friend of sinners.


·        He loved us and gave himself for us.

·        He possesses all things so that he might save his people.


C. Jacob could not be sure that he could get enough food for his whole family.


          There were 70 of them in all! But we are assured that God’s grace is abundantly sufficient in Christ Jesus to save to the uttermost all them that come to God by him (Isa. 1:18; Matt. 11:28; 1 John 1:7-9).


1.    There was a famine in the land.

2.    Goodness was heard - “There is corn in Egypt!”




          Jacob said to his sons, “Do not hesitate. Do not stand here looking at one another. There is corn in Egypt. Go down to Egypt and buy food that we may live and not die!”


          The command of the gospel is urgent. It calls for immediate response. You who are without Christ must not delay. “Today is the day of salvation!” You are a sinner, without life, without hope before God. If you remain where you are, you will perish forever! There is life in Christ, who of God is made unto us all that we need (1 Cor. 1:30; Col. 2:9-10). Come to Christ! Flee to Christ! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Isa. 45:20-25; John 5:39-40). Without Christ you are lost forever!




          Chapters 42-44 are very instructive. “Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.” And though Joseph knew what he would do for them, before he would reveal himself to them, his brothers had to learn some things. I urge you to read these chapters carefully. All I can do now is sketch out the primary events for you. As I do, you will see clearly how that Joseph’s dealings with his brothers is a picture of our Lord’s gracious dealings with us in saving grace.


A.  Joseph’s brothers tried to pay for what they received (42:3).


          The word “buy” occurs five times in the first ten verses of this chapter! These poor men had no thought of securing corn except by paying for it. How foolish! What could they give to Joseph? Yet, all men by nature, when first awakened to a sense of need, foolishly imagine that they can earn God’s approval, win his favor, and merit his acceptance!


·        Naaman’s gifts.

·        The Prodigal - “Make me as one of thy hired servants.”

·        The Rich Young Ruler.

·        The Jailor - “What must I do?”


B.  Joseph’s brothers knew they were perishing; yet, they clung to their own righteousness before Joseph who knew them (42:11) - “We are true men!”


          When Joseph spoke roughly to them (42:7, 9), they resented it and defended themselves.


C. Joseph put his brothers into prison for three days (42:17).


          This is exactly what they deserved. Joseph had no intention of destroying them. He put them in their proper place, the place of shame and condemnation, so that they might know their guilt and acknowledge their sin. He abased them because he was determined to exalt them.


D. Shut up under the law, Joseph’s brothers began to remember their sin (42:21).


          The terrors of hell are the terrors of an awakened conscience without repentance! And the first terrors of a soul under conviction are the terrors of an awakened, guilty conscience (Rom. 5:19).


E.  Joseph began to show his brothers that deliverance is by grace alone (42:25-26).


          The Bread of Life cannot be purchased. It must be accepted as a free gift, if it is received at all (Eph. 2:8-9).


F.  Joseph’s brothers found a brief satisfaction and reprieve (42:26).


·        They got their corn.

·        They went home.

·        They enjoyed a time of peace.

·        But Joseph was still unknown.


          This is what religion gives sinners - Peace without Christ. But God will not allow his people to rest until they rest upon Christ.


G. Joseph’s brothers soon had their superficial peace shattered (42:27-28).


·        Their hearts failed them.

·        They were filled with fear.

·        When they had eaten their corn, the famine was still there (43:1-2).


H. Still Joseph’s brothers retained their legal spirit (43:11, 15).


          They doubled their efforts to please Joseph. How little they knew Joseph. He prepared a feast for them. He said, “These men shall dine with me” (43:16). He provided everything! Is not this the word of the gospel? “Come, for all things are now ready!” Christ is the Provider. We are only receivers.


I.     Joseph graciously forced his brothers to take their proper place before him and confess their sin to God.


          There could be no fellowship between Joseph and his brothers until they fully confessed their sin and guilt. And he graciously forced them to do it (Psa. 65:4; 110:3).


1.     He arranged everything to secure his purpose (44:1-2).

2.     He sent his steward to fetch them to him (44:4).

3.     His brothers came fearful, broken, helpless, and bowed before him (44:13-14). Standing is over!

4.     Judah, speaking for the rest, acknowledged that God had found out their iniquity, and sought mercy (44:16).


          Now, look at chapter 45:1-3.




          What a touching scene we now have before us!


A.  It was Joseph who made himself known to his brothers.


·        He cleared the room.

·        He spoke personally - No priests! - No personal workers! - No mediators!


B.  First, he declared his name - “I am Joseph.”

C. Then, he declared his relationship to them - “I am Joseph your brother!” (45:4).

D. Next, he invited them to come near to him (45:4).

E.  At last he comforted them.


1.     He assured them of forgiveness (45:5).

2.     He explained what God had done (45:7-8).

3.     He told them of the provision he had made for them (45:10-11).

·        You shall be near me!

·        I will sustain you!

·        I will nourish you!

·        No evil shall befall you!

·        you have my word for it!

4.     Then Joseph kissed his brothers (45:15).

·        The assurance of his love!

·        The assurance of his forgiveness!

·        The assurance of complete reconciliation!

5.     The fame of this was heard throughout all of Pharaoh’s house (45:16).

·        It pleased Joseph! - The Savior.

·        It pleased his brothers! - The saved.

·        It pleased Pharaoh! - God the Father.

·        It pleased all his servants! - God the Holy Spirit/Angels/Preachers/Stars.


F.  Then, Joseph sent his brothers on an urgent mission to bring all the chosen family to him (45:18).


          The mission was simple - Tell them…


·        Joseph is alive!

·        He is Lord of all!

·        There is in his hands all you need!

·        Come to Joseph!


G. Joseph gave his brothers one word of admonition (45:24).


          “See that ye fall not out by the way!”




1.     Joseph’s brothers were faithful to their commission.

2.     They did not invent a message of their own, or alter the messge Joseph gave them.

3.     God owned and honored their message (Isa. 55:11).

I.     All Israel was saved!