Watch: Parasha Miketz 2023: The Fight Between Flesh and Spirit!
B’reisheet (Genesis) 41-44:17, Zekaryah (Zechariah) 3-4, Luqa (Luke) 4
Shabbat Shalom friends and family. In this week’s “Parasha Miketz“, we are going to continue with the story of Yoseph. And we will continue to break down the inner struggles and trials he is going through that eventually leads to forgiveness and redemption for him and his family.
If we are willing to look at this with spiritual eyes, we can see how the story of Yoseph is another example of what it looks like to break generational curses within a family. In this parasha, we are going to break all that down.
Last week, we left off with Yoseph in prison, interpreting the dreams for the chief butler and for the chief baker. Both dreams came true according to the interpretation that Yoseph gave them, yet the chief butler forgot about Yoseph which left him stuck in prison. Starting off in this parasha, we see that two full years have passed since that incident. Try and imagine that for yourselves. What that feels like and what Yoseph must be feeling internally. As we spoke about last week, Yoseph’s life has been one tragedy taking place after another. Now here he is, wrongfully accused of a crime he did not commit, and he has been patiently waiting on Elohim to free him.
It was at the end of these two years that Pharaoh had a dream. A lesson that can be learned here is that we have to trust in Elohim’s perfect timing. That is a long time for Yoseph to wait for a crime he did not commit. That is a long time to be patient and wait on Elohim. Had the butler told Pharaoh about Yoseph’s ability to interpret dreams of the future immediately, upon his own release from prison, I imagine Pharaoh might have shown interest, but really how much interest?
Pharaoh had his own magicians and wise men who could interpret signs and omens, and maybe not dreams, but either way I doubt that Pharaoh would have been initially impressed with Yoseph’s ability to interpret dreams. In all actuality, Yoseph would not have been very useful to Pharaoh at that current moment in time. While the two years spent in prison for Yoseph was not fun, it was an injustice and was still used for good, in order to prepare Yoseph for his future meeting with Pharaoh.
Romim (Romans) 8:28
28 “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love Elohim, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
There is no doubt that Yoseph loved Elohim, and there is no doubt that everything Yoseph was doing and going through was being used for good to build Yoseph up, so that he could walk in the will and purpose that Elohim had for his life. It was in Yahweh’s perfect timing that Pharaoh had the dream when he did. It was in Yahweh’s perfect timing that the butler remembered his faults on that day which then allowed the butler to speak to Pharaoh about Yoseph and his dream interpretations thus making Yoseph valuable to Pharaoh in that moment. By Yoseph remaining humble and waiting on Elohim, he was then exalted.
Had the butler, Yoseph, or anyone else for that matter tried to do anything differently than what we see here in Scripture, Yoseph might have been stuck in prison. Yoseph’s ability to see the future came by way of dreams and through Elohim’s interpretation of the dreams. Yoseph was not a fortune teller, and had Pharaoh tried to test Yoseph’s ability in this manner, he could have easily failed and been left to rot in prison and that would have likely been the end of his life.
The bigger lesson learned here is to trust in Elohim’s perfect timing. There is a difference in Elohim’s will and His timing. Elohim’s will was that Yoseph would be exalted, but it was Elohim’s timing that it would take thirteen years for it to come to fruition. It was even longer for it to happen in the sight of all his family.
These are two very important and distinct differences we must get right. We can desire to execute Elohim’s will, but if we do not do it according to His timeline, then we just mess it all up. The same is true in reverse, because if we desire to act in His right timing but not according to His will, then still, we just mess it all up.
As Yoseph is brought in and presented to Pharaoh, he is confident yet humble. Because when Pharaoh tells him, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.” Yoseph answers rightly by, saying, “It is not in me, but Elohim who will give Pharaoh an answer of peace”.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 41:14-16
14 “Then Pharaoh sent and called Yoseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh.
15 And Pharaoh said to Yoseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.”
16 So Yoseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; Elohim will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”
Yoseph gives credit where credit is due. Very similar to how Yochanan the Immerser, also known as John the Baptist said, “He must increase, I must decrease.”
Yochanan (John) 3:30
30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Yoseph could have responded by placing full confidence in himself, but he cannot really do that for obvious reasons. For starters, he is a slave who has been stuck in prison for a crime that he knows he did not commit, yet everyone else thinks he did. More importantly, is that Yoseph understands that it is nothing of his own ability that he can interpret dreams. It is all Elohim working through him as a yielded vessel.
That is really the key here because if we say we trust in Yahweh our Elohim, then let us actually place full trust in Him just as Yoseph did. Trust like that is a difficult thing to have when you have been betrayed and let down time after time. I am sure most folks in Yoseph’s situation would have felt abandoned and betrayed by Yahweh. I am sure by now, most people would have zero trust in Him, had they had to go through the trials that Yoseph had to go through. I am sure most would have given up faith.
This is what makes or breaks people in their walk of faith. There is no doubt that our faith will be tested, and the ultimate test for Yoseph has still yet to come. Thankfully he has placed his full trust in Elohim just as we should. Because Yoseph had placed his full trust in Elohim, he was exalted. Pharaoh needed a man who could take charge and put a plan in action to protect Mitsrayim through the years of plenty and through the years of famine. Yoseph was that man for the job, but he never exalted himself nor nominated himself for that position. It was all Elohim who gave him favor in the eyes of the Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 41:38
38 “And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of Elohim?”
Pharaoh and all his servants, (which includes the magicians, and wise men) all knew that there was nobody amongst them that was qualified for such a task as this.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 41:8
8 “Now it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them for Pharaoh.”
From the moment that Yospeh was born, Elohim has been prepping the stage for this moment where Yoseph would be elevated amongst everyone. Try to picture that for yourself and what that might have looked and felt like for everyone. Here is Yoseph, practically overnight, being elevated from a slave in prison to Governor of all Mitsrayim. This is no trivial matter, but the road that Yoseph had to endure to get to this moment, there are not many who would have remained as faithful as he did. I am sure many in the room with him would have liked to be elevated to the position of Governor, and I am sure there were many qualified people as well. I am sure there were many bright and capable Egyptians who could do the job, yet how many in the room would be willing to trade places with him and endure all that he had to endure?
Everyone wants to have faith like King David. Everyone wants to have faith like Yoseph, Moshe, Yehoshua, and the 12 apostles, but not many want to walk the narrow and afflicted path.
As it was with Yoseph, it is the same for us in this walk of faith. Yeshua said, in Mattiyahu chapter 7, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Master, Master; shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice Torahlessness.”
Mattityahu (Matthew) 7:21,23
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
How many people in that room called Pharaoh “master”? Yet, none of them were elevated to the position of Governor. How many brothers and sisters today call Yeshua “Master”, but He in return will deny them for their Torahlessness? If we desire to make it into the kingdom of heaven, it requires a true and humble relationship with Yeshua. Keeping the Torah as we are supposed to according to Scripture and not what the rabbis say and not what I say, is going to require us to walk the narrow and afflicted path. We will have to learn to crucify our flesh daily. It is easy to make a public declaration of faith, but it is an entirely different thing to actually live it out according to Scripture.
When Yeshua says, “whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”
Mattityahu (Matthew) 10:32-33
32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.
33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”
This is so much deeper than just a simple and public declaration of faith. As I said, one can call themselves a believer all they want, but if their fruits do not show it, if their actions do not line up; If they call themselves a believer but do not live as if they have been transformed, then their words are meaningless. We can make a public declaration all we want, but if we are not transformed, then we can and will be denied by Yeshua.
What I am saying should not be confused with someone who has thorn in their side and struggles to overcome their sin. There is grace for someone like that, but when you habitually wander off into sin, and wickedness, and outright blaspheme of the Set-Apart Spirit, there is no forgiveness for that kind of behavior. There is no forgiveness for the person who knows what the right thing to do is, and the Spirit is leading them to do the right thing, yet they decided to give into their flesh and blaspheme, or reject, or quench the Set-Apart Spirit.
In my opinion, this is what makes the story of Yoseph such a fascinating story. He has endured a lot and has remained faithful in his walk the entire time. Yahweh exalted him in His perfect timing. I am sure many times along in his journey, he struggled with remaining faithful, but at the end of the day he still persevered. I am sure many times he felt alone, and I am sure many times he wanted to give up. I am sure many times he was exhausted from riding that emotional roller coaster, but it was Elohim who carried him through it all. That is the kind of trust and faith he had in Yahweh. That is the same kind that we need to have.
As we progress in this story, I want everyone to keep this principle in mind, because we will come back to it. As time passes and Yoseph plans and prepares with Yahweh’s guidance, Yospeh manages to keep Mitsrayim afloat. Where famine has increased in all the lands, but in the land of Mitsrayim there is plenty of grain to go around.
This is when Israel sends his sons out to meet Yoseph unknowingly, to buy grain enough to keep them alive through the famine. We also notice after all these years that Israel is still clinging desperately to the children of Rahel (Rachel). He sends off all his children except Binyamin, who is the 12th son and the full-blooded brother of Yoseph.
Something to keep in mind, by this point, Binyamin has to be between the ages of 20 and 30. He is a grown man, probably with a wife and children of his own, and yet Israel is still protective over his son in this way indicating to me that he has never truly healed from the loss of his son Yoseph.
I know there are some of you out there that have had to bury your children. I will not pretend to know what that feels like, but in this story, as we can see, there is heart break all across the board. This is why it is so crucial to stay focused on Elohim because nobody is without pain, nobody is without sin.
As Yoseph’s brothers make their way into the land of Mitsrayim, they come upon Yoseph overseeing the selling of the grain, and they bow down before him. This is when Yoseph recognizes them and recalls to himself the dreams he spoke to them all those years back. It has been roughly 20 years since Yoseph first told those dreams to his brothers. Over twenty years, he has had no closure. He has no idea why he was sold as slave to begin with and why he had to go through everything he went through in order for those dreams to come to fruition the way that they did.
I want everyone to keep this in mind because Yoseph was seventeen when he was sold into slavery, and he was thirty when he stood before Pharaoh. It took thirteen years for Yoseph to go from a slave to Governor. Then it took another nine years after that for Yoseph to see his brothers again and for the dreams he had at seventeen to come true. Yoseph is now thirty-nine, standing before his brothers as Governor, and they are bowing down to him. Twenty-two years it took for that dream to come true.
I am sure when he was seventeen and he had those dreams, he was initially excited, and I am sure he felt like king of the world and he could do no wrong. I am sure he had full confidence that his brothers would someday bow down to him just as they were doing now. But did he think he would have to go through all the pain and suffering he did in order for his dreams to come true?
As I said last week in Proverbs or Mishle 16:9, “A man’s heart plans his way, but Yahweh directs his steps”.
Mishle (Proverbs) 16:9
9 “A man’s heart plans his way, but Yahweh directs his steps.”
It takes time for things to come to fruition, both good and bad. I am sure when Yoseph was sold off into slavery, one of the things he was probably thinking to himself was that his brothers have robbed him of his dreams. Yet, it was here in this moment, as Governor, that he realized how he had his own plans for his life, and how Yahweh even gave him a small glimpse of the future, but it would be Yahweh Himself who would direct the steps of his life.
How many of us have this same sort of problem today where we know that Elohim has given us a vision of the future or we have a plan of how we are going to live our lives, instead of relinquishing total control to Him?
Then, when things do not go according to our plan, we end up bitter and resentful against Him and those who have sinned against us. All because we have adopted this approach of taking our own plan and asking Yahweh to bless it when in reality, it should be the opposite where we are stopping ourselves and asking Yahweh, what is Your will for my life? What is it that you want me to do?
With Yoseph after all that time, he still initially had resentment against his brothers, and he had not forgiven them. Understandably so, Yoseph spoke harshly to them, and treated them as spies, and questioned them intently. The question I must ask, would we treat our brothers any differently if we now had all the power, and they were powerless? When Yospeh was sold, he was powerless and at the mercy of his brothers, and they showed him no mercy. Now here is Yoseph, practically king over their lives and he can do with them however he pleases. This is where the hardest battle begins for Yoseph. Because his brothers had no reason to be called spies, yet he called them spies anyway and demanded that they prove their integrity by bringing Binyamin back with them, and that he would hold on to Shimon or Simeon as collateral.
Yoseph now has all the power, and now is returning to his brothers all the abuse and injustice he has suffered over the past twenty-two years. He is now taking out all his anger, hate, and frustration out on them. So I ask again, if we had all the power that Yoseph had, would we treat our offenders any differently?
This is why Proverbs (Mishle) 3:5 and 6 say, “Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Mishle (Proverbs) 3:5-6
5 “Trust in Yahweh with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
The hardest battle for Yoseph is when he sees his brothers argue amongst each other, and he sees how remorseful and sorrowful they are because of what they did to him. Yet, in his heart and his flesh, he is still angry over what happened. He still desires revenge and to teach them a lesson, but Yoseph is finally hearing their side of the story for the first time in twenty-two years. For the first time in twenty-two years, he is finally getting answers to his questions.
His brothers said amongst themselves, “We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear, therefore this distress has come upon us.”
B’reisheet (Genesis) 42:21
21 “Then they said to one another, “We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us.”
The Hebrew word used for pleaded is, chanan which means to show favor or kindness to an inferior.
A primitive root (compare H2583); properly, to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favor, bestow; causatively to implore (that is, move to favor by petition): – beseech, X fair, (be, find, shew) favour(-able), be (deal, give, grant (gracious(-ly), intreat, (be) merciful, have (shew) mercy (on, upon), have pity upon, pray, make supplication, X very.
Yoseph’s brothers did not see him as an equal. They thought of their own baby brother as someone who was beneath them, no better than the dirt on their feet. I imagine that Yoseph was literally begging and crying for mercy from his brothers not to betray him the way that they did, but they showed him no mercy. And Yoseph has had to deal with this for 22 years. For twenty-two years, this is the last memory Yoseph has of himself with his brothers. The pain he must have been dealing with for twenty-two years of the betrayal of his brothers, men who were supposed to protect him, love him, and instead, they sold him as if he was some animal.
Think long and hard about this. Picture yourself going through this moment. Think of everything you are going through now. Think of everything you have gone through. All the ups and downs, all the sin committed against you, and you against others, and how all that makes you feel.
Then think of what Yeshua went through. Betrayed by His own creation, betrayed by His chosen people. His people that were supposed to worship Him and love Him and instead they killed Him. In the first century, it was a combination of the Romans and the Jews, but we are His creation. We are the ones who are responsible for Him dying on the cross.
With Yoseph, we fast forward 22 years, and here he is with complete power over their lives and begins to weep when he hears how guilty his brothers feel. Because now Yoseph feels guilty for desiring revenge. Yoseph is a man with a war on the inside taking place. His flesh wants him to exact revenge, but his spirit is telling him to forgive. This is why he sends his brothers back to Ca’anan with their sacks full of grain and their money they originally came with.
Initially, Yoseph’s flesh drove him to be harsh, cold, and calloused with his brothers, but after hearing how sorrowful and remorseful they were, his spirit drove him to be kind, and gracious.
This is why Kepha says in his letter, “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another, love as brothers, be tender hearted, be courteous, not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”
Kepha Aleph (1 Peter) 3:8-9
8 ”Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;
9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”
These are principles that have always existed for Elohim’s people. These are fruits of the Spirit that have been there for Elohim’s people. When Yoseph’s brothers return back to their father Israel and tell him all that had taken place, Israel is sorrowful about what had taken place. We can see that Re’uven really tries to step up. It is by this point that he truly is grieving the loss of both his brothers and offers up his own sons to be killed as a replacement to try and help his grieving father. Since now by this point, Israel feels he now has lost Shimon, Yoseph and now he might possibly loose Binyamin, if they aqueous to the Governor’s commands.
As time passes on, Israel and his family consume all the grain and it is time for them to go back to get more. Initially, Israel is hesitant on sending his sons back with Binyamin. Again in my opinion, he is showing still a bit of favoritism toward Binyamin because this entire time, his older brother Shimon has been held as a captive away from his wife and children, for the sake of Israel and sparing himself the pain of possibly loosing Yoseph’s brother.
The way Yehudah (Judah) responds demonstrates quality leadership. He responds by saying, “Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones. I myself will be surety for him; from my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you, and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.”
B’reisheet (Genesis) 43:8-9
8 “Then Judah said to Israel his father, “Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go, that we may live and not die, both we and you and also our little ones.
9 I myself will be surety for him; from my hand you shall require him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him before you, then let me bear the blame forever.”
This leadership and extreme ownership is what is required to lead a family. Yehudah has finally learned his lesson after all that he has been through. The lesson learned here between Yehudah and Yoseph is that leaders are made, not born. Leaders have to be forged in the fire. There is no other way to be a leader. You must be tested, and you must overcome in Elohim.
Yeshayahu (Isaiah) chapter 30 says, “Therefore Yahweh will wait, that He may be gracious to you, and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.”
Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 30:18
18 “Therefore Yahweh will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For Yahweh is a Elohim of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.”
So He will be exalted because of the mercy and grace He extends towards you and me. His mercy and grace towards us glorifies His good name.
Then it goes on to say, “For Yahweh is a Elohim of justice, blessed are all those who wait for Him.”
Again, here we see, Elohim’s will and His timing and why it is so important to understand those two things and how He is perfect, and how we are not. How He is righteous, and we are not.
Then it says, “For the people shall dwell in Tsiyon at Yerushalayim, you shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. And though Yahweh gives you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet your teacher will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teacher.”
Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 30:19-20
19 “For the people shall dwell in Tsiyon at Yerushalayim [Jerusalem]; you shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you.
20 And though Yahweh gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers.”
Even though Yahweh answers our call when we cry out to Him, He loves us enough to make us stronger in our faith by causing us to go through affliction and adversity. Yoseph’s faith was as strong as it was because his whole life was about overcoming adversity and affliction. Yehudah, Israel, and so many more were forged through adversity and affliction.
We too as believers in Mashiach Yeshua will be forged in adversity and affliction.
Yochanan (John) 15:20-22
20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.
22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.”
Upon his brothers’ return, Yoseph is still wrestling on the inside as whether to obey his flesh or the Spirit. When Yoseph sees his brother Binyamin for the first time in 22 years, his heart yearns for him initially, but Yoseph is wrestling between good and evil as we all do. Yoseph wants to enact revenge against his older brothers, but here is his baby brother and now all of a sudden, the roles are reversed. Binyamin has done nothing, yet Yoseph has this deep anger and hatred. He knows if he behaves as his older brothers did, then he is no different and is guilty of the same sin.
This is where we conclude for this week’s parasha. Next week we will pick up with the rest of the story and see the true redemption, love, and forgiveness that can take place when we are truly placing our faith in Yahweh.