Miketz -“At The End Of”

This week’s Parasha is Miketz, which means “at the end of” and covers Genesis 41-44:17.

Pharaoh has a bad dream, he does not understand what it means.  In Pharaoh’s   dream there were seven cows that were good and plump and then all of a sudden there were seven undernourished cows and they devoured  the plump cows .  Pharaoh was a little distressed and had no luck in finding anybody to interpret his dreams. The cupbearer  remembered and recommended  Joseph to interpret Pharaoh’s dream.    Pharaoh sent for Joseph, who had been imprisoned  for many years.   Under Egyptian tradition, Joseph was  washed, shaven, and better clothes are put upon him for meeting  with Pharaoh.   Pharaoh tells Joseph his dreams.  Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams that there would be seven years of great harvest, followed by seven years of famine.   Joseph proceeds to  tell Pharaoh that he should store  the food during the first seven years that it may last the second seven years and that all of the world will have to travel to Egypt to obtain food.   Not only does Joseph interpret the dreams, but he gives Pharaoh an economics lesson on how to come out on top and survive the famine.  Pharaoh was so impressed by Joseph, who was 30-years-old.  That he puts Joseph in charge of his entire kingdom, answering only to Pharaoh himself.   Talk about a rags to riches story.   Early one morning you working in a prison;, not the place you want to hang out,  and by dinner you’re dining with Pharaoh as the number two leader in all of Egypt.

Just as Joseph gave the proper interpretation of the dreams — so it came to pass. It would be important to note here that Joseph, as  a young boy  was a little arrogant towards his brothers ,even his father and yet he attributes the abilities to interpret these dreams of Pharaoh to El Elyon the Most high God, he  gives all the credit to his Lord. He is faithful.

The Lord took Joseph, whom he had big plans for, and humbled him. Joseph had to learn some things. Brothers and Sisters, our character is not built upon our successes.   Our character is built on how we react to our failures, the things we struggle with.   Those are the things that make us a better person because they humble us before the one true God.  Joseph needed to know these things and so God has prepared him for the task that is before him.  The world has to come to Joseph to survive — there is no bread available in the world except in Egypt,

Now some time into the famine, Israel and his eleven sons begin to struggle with the famine   Israel tells his sons to travel to Egypt and buy the grain.  All of the sons travel to Egypt except for Benjamin.   Many years have passed since Joseph has been lost to his Father. Somehow one gets the feeling that he doesn’t trust his other ten sons with the last son he has left of his favorite wife Rachel. So, Judah and the nine sons of Israel go to Egypt to buy grain, when they arrive they were instructed to meet with Joseph who has a new name.    Joseph has his Attendant bring them before him.   Joseph immediately recognizes them but they do not recognize him because at least 20 years has passed since they sold their brother.

When Joseph sees them, he realizes one of his brothers is missing – Benjamin.  Joseph accuses the ten brothers of being spies, he wants to test their character, remember the last time he saw them they sold him, and you can imagine Joseph is not very trusting of them. He tests them and they have to bow down to him, they do not realize that Joseph who was using an interpreter understood their Hebrew while Judah and the nine brothers talk among themselves.  The guilt of what they did to Joseph more than 20 years earlier is why they believe they are in this position this very day.

Joseph decides that one of the spies Simeon will have to stay behind.  He will be in prison until the other nine brother’s return with Benjamin, which they hope will happen when they get home so they can come back and get their brother.  But unfortunately, for the brothers,  when they get home   Jacob/Israel has no intention of letting them take his youngest son Benjamin back to Egypt so they do not return to Egypt until they have run out of grain to make bread.   How long that is we do not know but during that time Simeon languishes in the prison.

They also realize when they got back home that not only did they get all the grain that they had purchased but all the money was returned to them as well.  Instead of feeling blessed, the brothers only feel cursed because now they will surely have trouble when they go back.

Finally they run out of grain and have to go back to Egypt.   Judah, who is not the oldest but has become the leader of his brothers, tells his father that he will take full responsibility for Benjamin should something happen to Benjamin.  Judah will take his place whether it is prison or death, so Israel relents and allows them to take Benjamin there.

When they arrive in Egypt and they meet Joseph, Joseph instructs them to go to his house and they’ll have a meal with him at noon.   The brothers should feel good because they will have a private audience with the second-highest person in Egypt, but instead their fear sets in and they tell his attendant that the money had been returned to them and they want to make sure they pay for the first grain and they bring extra gifts hoping Joseph may show mercy on them when Joseph meets with the brothers.  When Joseph  sees his brother Benjamin his heart is touched deeply and he is distressed,  he missed his brother,  he has to go off privately to weep,  he finally regains his composure and he comes back out and he eats with his brothers.  This is something he had not done previously since they see him as an Egyptian who would not eat with the Hebrews.  He serves each one of them but he gives five times as much to his brother Benjamin.  They still do not know who he is.   The grain that they bought has been packed up and they are on their journey home. They did not know that their money was returned to them and Joseph’s silver cup was packed into Benjamin’s bag.    Joseph instructs his attendant and men to go after his brothers and tell them that that he is missing his silver cup and one of them has stolen it.  The brothers know they haven’t taken it so they say check the bags.  The silver cup was found in Benjamin’s bag and the brothers were terrified and we will see Judah speak on behalf of his brothers to Joseph.

Unfortunately this is where the Parasha ends for today so we will have to come back next week to hear the rest of the Story and the exciting news in next week’s Parasha.

Some applications for us to think about:

We see that Joseph was tested by God he is humble and faithful, he suffered and then God lifted him up as a foreshadowing of how God would take his son, Yeshua , that He would be tested,  proven worthy and raised up by the father .

We will see how Joseph tests his brothers who bow before him as he had predicted.  Joseph sees the guilt they feel for what they had done to his brother.

Joseph is the one who has all the supply of bread for the world, yet a far greater one, the Messiah Yeshua would actually be the bread of life.

Brothers and Sisters there are times in all of our lives when we think God has forsaken us, our weak faith is tested. God uses these tests to build up our character that we may be more prepared to do his work.

Romans 8:28 says “we know all things work together for good to them that love God to them who are called according to their purpose”, these are reminders that God is always with us, he is always the one who does the heavy lifting, He says we have the faith of a mustard seed and that’s a very small thing.  We should see in the Word that God is always faithful.

Remember he’s a promise keeper not a promise breaker we can trust his word.