Genesis 43 recounts the reunion of Joseph and his long-lost brothers. The moving story in this chapter paints a picture of brothers expressing fear, guilt, grief and pain. Emotions are a part of who we are-of how God created us. They are powerful and can control every other aspect of our lives if we allow them to. Since we are fallen creatures, we must learn to evaluate our emotions against the Word of God and the leadership of the Holy Spirit to ensure that we are not led astray by our feelings.
Young girls will give up their purity because they are lost in a sea of emotions. Men abandon their families because they get caught up in an adulterous relationship. Families and churches are ripped apart because people allow emotions like anger, bitterness, jealousy, and resentment to control them.
Of course, God works in our emotions too. He uses the natural responses we have to the events of life to teach us about Him, His will, and what He is doing in our lives. In this reunion scene between Joseph and his brothers, we see 12 men who are displaying The Power of Emotions. I want to point out the emotions that are portrayed here and the lessons they have to teach us.
I. VV. 18-24 When these men are brought into Joseph’s house, they become “afraid.” This word means “to be filled with dread.” So, with their hearts still pounding in fear, they prepare themselves for the arrival of Joseph for the noon meal. Fear is a terrible emotion! It is paralyzing in the effect it has on our lives. Fear renders us incapable of trusting the Lord and looking to Him for the help we need in life. Here are eleven men who have been brought up to know Jehovah, the only true and living God, yet, they are so overcome by the emotion of fear that they are unable to see His hand at work in their lives. They have to be reminded of God’s grace, His sovereignty, and His purposes by an Egyptian pagan. Haven’t we all been there at times?
· Life comes at us with all its problems and it tragedies.
· When it does, we become filled with fear and dread.
· Instead of faith in God, we are gripped by worry and dread.
You can’t allow fear to dominate your life!
Learn to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” Pro. 3:5-6. If you can learn to trust the Lord in all of life, you will never have anything to fear.
II. VV. 25-30 Now, Joseph enters this scene. He pronounces a blessing on his brother, v. 29, and is immediately overcome with emotion. He makes a retreat to his private chamber where he gives way to all the emotions that are raging within his heart and he breaks down and he weeps.
There are times when a person becomes overwhelmed by the events of life. Has that ever happened to you? I praise the Lord that He understands our times of weeping and brokenness. Let me just remind you today, God cares about the things you and I face in this life. 1 Peter 5:7: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” Psalm 34:1: “The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous And His ears are open to their cry.” Sometimes life hurts, and when it does, we have a God who understands and One who cares about His children!
III. VV. 31-34 When Joseph comes back he has gotten his emotions under control again. So, this chapter ends with all the brothers eating a meal together and being “merry.” They are all experiencing the emotion of joy. I suppose that joy is the favorite emotion we humans share. In fact, God teaches us that joy is a very healthy emotion. Pro. 17:22… “A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Pro. 15:13, “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face…” Pro. 15:15, “All the days of the afflicted are bad, But a cheerful heart has a continual feast.”
If you aren’t happy and enjoying the joy of the Lord as you walk through this life, ask God to show you how to enter into His joy.
So get your fear under control and trust in the Lord. If you’re in the midst of one of those overwhelming situations that is tearing your heart apart it’s okay to weep, and just know that He understands. And lastly, choose today to walk in the joy of the Lord. His joy is readily available to you, but it is up to you to choose to rejoice in the Lord. And when you do you will be stronger than you have ever been because it’s within His joy that we find our true strength!