Old Dreams Remembered

Old Dreams Remembered

Scripture: Genesis 42:1-38 (NRSVue)

In our journey through Genesis, we last saw Joseph’s brothers when they sold their brother Joseph into slavery for twenty silver pieces (the silver will appear again later in the story). It’s been thirteen long years since then, and now the brothers reappear to buy grain from Egypt during the famine. There’s a poignant scene where Joseph listens to his brothers talking about their guilt and regret over selling him into slavery and “he turned away from them and wept.” We become so familiar with the story that we know Joseph forgives. But we need to let events unfold and reflect how hard this was for Joseph. It makes me think of other passages in Scripture of weeping: Joseph weeps two more times. Elisha the prophet wept. Mary washing Jesus’ feet with her tears. Peter broke down and wept. And of course, Jesus wept—not only for his dead friend Lazarus, but over Jerusalem. Sarah and I have been doing some weeping these days, missing our two little “babies” who have all grown up and gone away to school. It takes a real man, a real woman to cry. It shows we care, that we feel deeply. Tears are a gift. And it’s good to let out our tears, rather than keeping them bottled in. Yet, we do overhear the psalmist’s prayer that you God “put my tears in your bottle, are they not in your record?” (Psalm 56:8 ) God uses our tears to water the seeds of what new things are to spring up in our lives from the passing of the old. They are not wasted or forgotten.


September 17, 2023 — 

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11:00 am – Traditional Worship Service Bulletin (click)
Sermon Art:Joseph and His Brothers in Egypt” by Salvador Dali, Biblia Sacra Suite, Rome, 1965-69 lucillelucasgallery.com
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Bible Study Questions:

Genesis 42:1-38 (NRSVue)

  1. There are a few themes found in this passage:
  2. A “recognition” theme
  3. A “live or die” theme
  4. A “silver” theme (see Genesis 37:28 for background)
  5. Where do you see these themes in Genesis 42? Why are they repeated—what are they saying to us?
  6. Observe Jacob’s interactions with his ten sons. Where do we see Jacob’s planning at work? Do you see favoritism in his interactions?
  7. How are Joseph’s dreams from when he was a teenager fulfilled here?
  8. Why do you think Joseph tests his brothers so sternly? Is he being mean or is this a healthy test to guard his heart and life? What will the test prove?
  9. What new thing do we learn about what happened when Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers? (hint: check out Genesis 42:21)
  10. Joseph wept. How hard do you think it was for Joseph to forgive his brothers after all that has happened to him? Why is forgiveness such an important part of our Judeo-Christian faith? How is it good for others? For ourselves?
  11. Joseph was sold for twenty pieces of silver. Joseph slyly put silver back into the rucksacks of his brothers. What is the significance of this?
  12. Reuben once again tries to be a leader among his brothers, but falls short again. How does he show a lack of strong leadership once again?




Other Sermons In This Series

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