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Work Toward Reconciliation    Gen. 44:1-2, 32-34; 45:1-9, 14-15    May 11, 2008

I love to be around when reconciliation takes place. I have seen it take place a few times during revival services and I really love to stand by and watch families and friends reconcile. It needs to happen more than it does. I am pleased to say my Mom, my two sisters and I never experienced a breakdown in our relationship. My sisters bragged about that to a few years ago and we agreed Christ and the church contributed greatly to this truth. I think Christ will lead all of us to Work Toward Reconciliation.

1. Work Toward Reconciliation Through . . Confirmation. 44:1-2

A. Confirmation Through The . . Devising Of A Plan. 44:1
1 Then Joseph commanded his steward: "Fill the men's bags with as much food as they can carry, and
put each one's money at the top of his bag.

B. Confirmation Through The . . Deployment Of A Plan. 44:2
2 Put my cup, the silver one, at the top of the youngest one's bag, along with his grain money." So he
did as Joseph told him.

        If reconciliation is realized Joseph will need further confirmation so he can trust his brothers. He
wants confirmation that his brothers are telling the truth. Twenty-two years of thinking about what his brothers did, even though it turned out for good, doesn't breed trust and appreciation for his brothers. So, he devised a plan that he used to test them further. He deployed his plan as he placed his personal cup in one of their bags. It was a simple plan but it accomplished what Joseph desired. If you know of a need for reconciliation can you devise a plan to move it toward it's accomplishment?

2. Work Toward Reconciliation Through . . Clarification. 44:32-34

A. Clarification For . . Joseph. 44:32-33
32 Your servant became accountable to my father for the boy, saying, 'If I do not return him to you,
I will always bear the guilt for sinning against you, my father.' 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.

B. Clarification About . . Jacob. 44:34
34 For how can I go back to my father without the boy? I could not bear to see the grief that would overwhelm my father."

        The brothers of Joseph wanted to give clarification to him about the truthfulness of their story and
actions. This attempt focused on trying to make sure Benjamin got back to his father. They gave additional clarification about Jacob that really got to the heart of Joseph. The broken relationship moved toward reconciliation through the truthfulness expressed. The story continued to be clarified as the same message continued to be presented. The truth always helps to make clarification.

3. Work Toward Reconciliation Through . . Confession. 45:1-15

A. Reconciliation Through Confession That . . Bears The Soul. 45:1-4
1 Joseph could no longer keep his composure in front of all his attendants, so he called out, "Send
everyone away from me!" No one was with him when he revealed his identity to his brothers.
2 But he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and also Pharaoh's household heard it.
3 Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph! Is my father still living?" But his brothers were too terrified to answer him. 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Please, come near me," and they came near. "I am Joseph,your brother," he said, "the one you sold into Egypt.

B. Reconciliation Through Confession That . . Believes God Controls. 45:5-9
5 And now don't be worried or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead
of you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there will be five more years without plowing or harvesting. 7 God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant within the land and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 8 Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt.  9 "Return quickly to my father and say to him, 'This is what your son Joseph says: "God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me without delay.

C. Reconciliation Through Confession That . . Brings Relief. 45:14-15
14 Then Joseph threw his arms around Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin wept on his shoulder.
15 Joseph kissed each of his brothers as he wept, and afterward his brothers talked with him.

    Finally Joseph believed their story and confessed through the bearing of his soul. He opened up about being their brother and called for them to come near to him. Perhaps he kept them at a distance before, so now they could get a good look at Joseph and recognize him. Of course he asked more questions about his father, but they must have interacted some, what a joyful sight that must have been. This reconciliation further recognized and emphasized how God worked all of this under His control and guidance. Joseph knew how God worked in his life but the brothers needed this information to know how God moved to bring about this reconciliation.

The regret they expressed earlier probably received some relief as they appreciated how God worked even through their shameful acts. Then the bringing of tears to climax this reconciliation. It amazes me that Joseph held back the tears along as he did, but finally the river of tears flowed and the Work Toward Reconciliation reached a pinnacle. What a joyous occasion! Amen? Amen!