Full Service Sermon Video Sermon Audio Scripture Verses Genesis 37-50; Romans 12:13-21 Worship Playlist Great Things by Phil WickhamKing of My Heart by Bethel MusicYet Not I but Through Christ In Me by Shane & Shane Study Questions How have you been negatively affected by the madness (or evil) of people? Share an example you are comfortable sharing.How do people typically react to those who have hurt them during times of affliction?Read Genesis 39:21, 41:51-52. How was God providentially a part of Joseph’s narrative? Where is God in your story? Where is there evidence of God’s comfort? How has God enabled you to thrive despite the affliction(s) you’ve experienced in life? What would it have been like to be governed by Joseph? Does it seem ironic that people equated God’s favor with being “slaves” under Joseph’s administration (Genesis 47:25)? Read Romans 12:12. What does it look like to live out Romans 12:12 during times of affliction? Read Romans 12:13-21. What does it look like to be merciful to those who have caused you great pain? What do we learn about Joseph and Romans 12:13-21 mercy from the ending of Genesis? Judah offers his life to Joseph to spare Benjamin. How does this foreshadow the mercy of the Lion of Judah, the Promised Christ, the offspring of Eve? What is God’s strategy for destroying evil within us and all around us? Downloads & Resources Sermon Video Download Service Video Download Sermon Audio Download Madness of Mercy Dr. Jon Morrissette - 11/28/2021 So along came Joseph. As a youngster, he grew up a Shepherd. He was the youngest, and most loved son of Jacob. Favored. Blessed. Clothed by his father, in the splendor of a long-sleeved robe. Joseph quickly became an object of jealousy. His siblings—each born to one of Jacob's four wives—resented him so deeply they couldn’t even speak to him. They didn’t like Joseph giving bad reports about them. Their animosity only grew as Joseph recounted his dreams. God had shown Joseph he was destined to be some kind of great king—that not only his brothers but his own father and mother would bow to him, but also the sun, moon, and stars! Joseph’s own brothers stripped him of his robe, threw him in a pit, betrayed him for twenty pieces of silver, sold him as a slave, then lied to their father suggesting he’d been torn apart by wild animals. At first Joseph finds himself as a slave in Potiphar’s household. After resisting the aggressive advances of Potiphar’s wife, he’s falsely accused of sexual assault and thrown into the King’s prison. In the King’s prison Joseph grows in wisdom, stature, and favor of the warden. Remember Genesis 39:21? “But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him. He granted him favor with the prison warden.” He’s soon in charge of the prison and prisoners. While in prison he interprets the dream of the King’s cupbearer favorably, and the dream of the King’s chief baker unfavorably. The cupbearer lives, and is restored to his position under Pharaoh. But the chief baker is executed. Years later, Pharaoh begins receiving terrifying visions. Nobody in all of Egypt is able to interpret his dreams—but the cupbearer remembers a man named Joseph, who through his God, could interpret all dreams. Pharaoh sends for Joseph and Joseph predicts that Egypt is going to have seven years of abundance followed by seven years of catastrophic drought. Joseph doesn’t just interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, he gives him advice! Genesis 41:33, “Let Pharoah look for a discerning and wise man and set him over the land of Egypt” Let Pharoah ruthlessly store up food for the first seven years so you can survive the last seven years! Pharoah immediately sizes up Joseph. Genesis 31:37-40, “The proposal pleased Pharaoh and all his servants and he said to them, ‘Can we find anyone like this, a man who has God’s spirit in him?’ So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “. . . you will be over my house, and all my people will obey your commands. Only I as King will be greater than you…” At a mere thirty years of age, Pharaoh exalts Joseph. He puts his signet ring on Joseph’s finger, conferring authority over his kingdom. He clothes Joseph in fine garments and places a gold chain around his neck. Gives him chariot. It’s interesting to read about Joseph. He was a ruthless administrator. For seven years he gathered every ounce of excess food. He built enormous storehouses in every city to store up grain. There was so much grain they stopped counting it—"it was like the sand of the sea” (Genesis 41:49). In time, Joseph had two sons. His firstborn he named “Manasseh,” which means “God has made me forget all my hardship and my whole family.” (Genesis 41:51) His second-born he named “Ephraim” which means, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Genesis 41:52). I’ve always felt there is a inherent grace to hard-work and family-raising. Early in life, a person can be handed the absolute worse deck of cards. Joseph was handed a full-house as a child, but as a young man his brothers dealt him some really bad cards. Soon, Joseph found himself in a land of great affliction. Joseph never played the victim card. He trusted God. He guarded his heart, and integrity. He married, had a family. He was a good steward of anything and everything that was entrusted to his oversight. He was faithful in the little things, and was therefore put in charge of great things, including the entire Kingdom of Egypt! What a testimony of God’s grace—that against all odds, Joseph becomes “fruitful”! We can’t change our past, but we trust God in face of affliction, with our futures! In time, the famine because so severe, people from the surrounding regions came to Egypt for help. I’m skipping ahead in our story, but at first Joseph begins collecting silver for grain. But once the silver ran out, Joseph accepted people’s livestock as payment, their horses, their flocks of sheep, their herds of cattle, their donkeys. Once people’s livestock ran out, they began surrendering all their land to Pharaoh as payment for grain! Eventually people surrendered their very lives. Joseph moves everyone into the cities. He sets up a farm system where everyone would sow seed, and at harvest, give back one fifth of their harvest. Ultimately Joseph’s administration (and every administration) is judged for its impact on people. Joseph’s leadership legacy is cemented in Genesis 47:25: “You have saved our lives,” the people said, “We have found favor with our lord and will be Pharaoh’s slaves.” Joseph didn’t just save lives, he filled people with hope, and helped them find God’s favor. People will walk on water for a wise, selfless leader. “Yeah, we're fine being Pharaoh’s slaves! Things seem to be working out pretty great –we’re better together by far!” As fortune would have it, things come full circle in Genesis. In time, Jacob and his sons come into hard times. Jacobs sends his ten sons to Egypt to get grain (minus Benjamin, who is the baby boy, and heir apparent to Joseph). Jacob doesn’t trust his ten sons to look after Benjamin (Genesis 42:4)! When his brothers come from Canaan to buy grain, Joseph recognizes them immediately—but they don’t recognize Joseph! When we're going through times of affliction, there is a sense in which our character is on display. For example, I’ve always aspired to Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.” When things aren’t working out, when things are going from bad to worse, when we find ourselves demoted from a pit to a dungeon, … the character of our faith is on full display! Are we joyful, hopeful, patient, prayerful? But there is an even greater sense in which on our character is on display—and it’s when everything is turned to your favor! You might imagine yourself “righteous” when in a position of victimhood. I most admire those who despite affliction, maintain joy, hope, patience, posture of prayer, and faith. But you don’t know if you’re truly righteous until you're in a position to really affect those who afflicted you. If your parents did you evil, when you were young and vulnerable… will you do evil when your parents are old, aging, and vulnerable… or will you flip the script and do good to those who hurt you? If your brothers betrayed you, and left you for dead, what will you do to get power or advantage over them? Romans 12:13-21 talks about this deeper aspect of character. “13 Share with the saints in their needs; pursue hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Give careful thought to do what is honorable in everyone’s eyes. 18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written, Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay, says the Lord. 20 But If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. For in so doing you will be heaping fiery coals on his head. 21 Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.” At age thirty, Joseph was living a Romans 12:12 life. But when his brother’s come knocking, he’s thrown into an even deeper crisis of character and faith! A Romans 12:13-21 quandary. Do I respond to the needs of my brother? Do I show hospitality? Do I show sympathy? Do I repay them evil for evil? Do I do the honorable thing? Do I make peace? Do I let God manage the scales of judgement? It’s hard to imagine the Apostle Paul didn’t have Joseph in mind when he wrote Romans! If you enemy is hungry? If he is thirsty? Feed him. Give him water. Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good! Here at the end of Genesis we have a foreshadowing of how the promised Christ, that offspring of Eve, would crush the head of Satan! First, you entrust yourself to God Himself. You rejoice in hope, you learn to be patient in affliction, your stay persistent in your prayers. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob… they all learned obedience in time. They became heroes of faith—and God was faithful. But second, you entrust your evil brother(s) to God Himself. At every turn you endeavor to overcome evil with good. Joseph had some fun with his brothers. He wanted to test their sincerity, so he plays some cat and mouse games with them. He accuses them of being spies, sniffing out the weakness of Egypt. They tell Joseph about their father Jacob, and younger brother Benjamin. He throws them in the dungeon for “three days.” Hmm. Interesting. Why three days? After three days Joseph tells them to prove their story. He continues to imprison their brother Simeon, and forces them to go back and send for this supposed youngest brother “Benjamin!” The whole time Joseph is listening to them banter back and forth in their Hebrew dialect. The brothers are totally distressed! They believed God was punishing them, and holding them account for Joseph’s blood, for throwing him into the pit, for lying to their father, for betraying him for silver into slavery. Joseph is so overcome with emotion, he turns away from his brother and weeps. Joseph’s not done testing his brothers. He does indeed feed his brothers. He sends them away with sacks of grain. But as they leave, Joseph sneaks some silver into one of their bags. That night, on their journey back to Canaan the brothers discover the silver and their hearts sink. Genesis 42:28 says “. . . Trembling they turned to one another and said, ‘What is this that God has done to us?’” When the sons get to Canaan they relay their story to Jacob. And Jacob is beside himself. Genesis 42:36 he says to them, “It’s me that you make childless. Joseph is gone and Simeon is gone. Now you want to take Benjamin. Everything happens to me!” Isn’t that a great line? EVERYTHING HAPPENS TO ME! Maybe you’ve felt that same complaint throughout your life. EVERYTHING HAPPENS TO ME! I went and saw the movie “House of Gucci.” In the movie, one of the Gucci brothers has an adult son, who always manages to say and do the wrong things. The father explains his relationship this way: “He may be an idiot… but he’s my idiot.” In Genesis 43 Judah tells Jacob that Pharoah knows all about their family, and about Benjamin, and that unless they come back with Benjamin Simeon would die. In Genesis 43:6 Jacob says, “Why have you caused me so much trouble? Why did you tell the man that you had another brother?” Judah explains, “Well…. he kept asking about your family…” YOU IDIOTS! What do you do if you're Jacob, and you find yourself in such trouble? First, you trust God. In Genesis 43:14 Jacob prays, “May God Almighty cause the man to be merciful to you so that he will release your brother and Benjamin to you. As for me, if I am deprived of my sons, then I am deprived.” That is Romans 12:12! Patient in prayer. But the other thing Jacob does is Romans 12:13-21! Jacob not only trusts God to sort things out, but he doubles down on generosity. He instructs his sons to return twice the silver they found, to be totally truthful, to take back the very best products from their land as gifts—honey, pistachios, almonds,etc. When they return to Egypt, what does Joseph do? He slaughters an animal and prepares a giant feast for his brothers. He showers them with food, drink, hospitality, and kindness. They are reunited with Simeon. Joseph inquires about the health of their elder father Jacob. But when Joseph sees Benjamin, he is again overcome with emotion and had to turn away from his brothers, to regain his composure. It’s hilarious, as they are eating, Joseph gives Benjamin five times the helpings of turkey and gravy (Genesis 43:34). But as they prepare to leave, Joseph tests his brothers once more. As they leave, Joseph puts the silver cup from his table in one of their bags. In Genesis 44:4 He accuses his brothers of returning “evil for good” and sends his men to pursue them. When Joseph’s steward overtakes the brothers he accuses them of stealing the cup, and that whichever brother has the cup, will become a slave in Pharaoh’s household forever! And of course where is the cup? It’s in Benjamin’s bag! Joseph says, “What were you guys thinking? Did you now know a man like me can uncover the truth by divination?” It’s Judah that steps forward and confesses the whole story, of how they had betrayed their brother. And now Judah was prepared to pay any price, and make any sacrifice necessary, to spare his Father Jacob the grief of losing his precious son Benjamin. Our father would just as soon die as live without Benjamin. Let me be the propitiation for my brother’s sin. Let me become the slave. Let me be a substitute, let his punishment for his sin fall upon me. Genesis 44:33, “Now please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave, in place of the boy. Let him go back with his brothers.” From the Tribe of Judah would come another, the Christ, who’d lay down his life for the sins of his brothers. It’s at this point that, for third time, Joseph is overwhelmed with emotion. But this time he reveals his identity. [Read Genesis 45:1-9] Jacob dies… [Genesis 50:15-21]: How God overcome all Evil and Madness? Through faith, through hope, through love, undeserved grace and mercy of Christ Jesus!