Our Torah portion is called Meketz (At the end) Genesis 41:1-44:17. 

1-a In B’resheet/Genesis 37:25-26  Joseph’s brothers threw him into a pit, sat down to eat a meal and then sold him into slavery.  Then in B’resheet/Genesis 44:9 When the brother’s bags were being searched for the stolen cup we read where the brothers said,  “Who is found with it from your servants shall die and also we will be slaves to my lord.” What do you think has changed, if anything, with Joseph’s brothers?

When the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack all the brothers returned to Joseph to plead their case instead of leaving Benjamin to face Joseph alone. In Genesis 44:10 when they got to Joseph he offered them a dishonorable life-raft by telling them everyone could leave except for the one who stole the cup. In Genesis 44:33 Judah offered to stay in Benjamin’s place. He could see that the brothers had changed.

1-b Does the family of believers(brothers in the faith) today resemble either of these stories of Joseph’s family? What picture does the Messianic scripture paint of the believing body before Yeshua returns? (verses please) What is Yeshua calling us to do in these last days before His return?

If you look at scripture you can see that Yeshua knew what it was to be deserted by His friends and His disciples. At the Last Supper, He told the disciples, “Look, the hour is coming – indeed has come – when you will be scattered, each to his own, and you will abandon Me” (John 16:32). Later, at the Mount of Olives, He said, “This night you will all fall away because of Me; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered'” (Matthew 26:31, TLV). 

Peter and John followed Yeshua to the house of the high priest when He was arrested, but Yeshua stood alone to make a way of reconciliation for Jew and Gentile alike. Nevertheless, Yeshua had taught His disciples that, in the end-times, “brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death” (Matthew 10:21). 

Later He added that when it came close to His return, “many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray” (Matthew 24:10-11), concluding that “the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22). James echoes that – “Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast” (James 5:11) – while the writer to the Hebrews confirms that Messiah Yeshua is faithful over G-d’s house as a son and “we are His house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast” (Hebrews 3:6, NIV). 

Paul warns us that before Yeshua returns, there will be a great apostasy or falling away (2 Thessalonians 2:3), “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction”.giving more detail in his letter to Timothy: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1), echoing the words of Yeshua that “the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12b).

What is Yeshua calling us to do in these last days before He returns? 

I believe G-d is asking us to do two things: firstly, to strive – work towards unity. Not a superficial sort of unity, based solely on words that is only skin deep, but a heart unity of people brought together by the Spirit, committed to Yeshua and to each other. 

Secondly, to be zealous for His name, telling others about Yeshua, explaining our faith to individuals who ask and defending G-d Himself and the truth of His word as the Spirit gives us words. 

Both of these require us to be humble and open to the leading of the Spirit, listening for and obeying His promptings. As the Body of Messiah in this generation, we must be prepared to stand or fall together, being each other’s keepers and, if necessary, putting our lives on the line.

2-a This week we read about Joseph from his release from prison until his reunion with his brothers after many years apart. They did not recognize him. Why? What had changed with Joseph? What had not?

The last time they saw Joseph he was a teenager. Now they were looking at an Egyptian ruler second only to Pharaoh. His physical appearance had changed and spiritually he had changed.  He had matured in his faith and stayed true to his foundational beliefs. He was not bitter. He did not blame G-d for all his troubles.  He was ready to forgive his brothers.

2-b Now look back to Genesis 3:9. Here we see the encounter between G-d and Adam. It was the first time they had met after Adam’s sin. G-d asked him in Hebrew Ayekah, Where are you? Maybe more accurately, “Who are you?” Why did G-d ask Adam this question?

G-d knew where Adam was. Here he was asking Adam, “Who are you?” He wanted Adam to realize where he was and what he had become? We live in a world where it is difficult to identify our true self.  When someone asks you who are you what do you answer? Who do we see ourselves as being? Are we a husband, a wife a friend?  Do we first filter it all through who we are as a believer? Do we answer with what is our main role in life, what is in the forefront or what is the true me. What drives me? Is it my work or is it what I have? We live among a culture that is more dominant than our own. We find ourselves dressing like everyone else. We talk like them and yet G-d’s question echoes down through time, “Who are you?” It demands of us that we take a stand. What drives everything we do?   Where does our true commitment lie? 

I saw a story awhile back about a Jewish basketball team that made it to the semi-finals of their region. The play off schedule showed that their next game landed on the first night of Passover. What to do? Without hesitation they forfeited their game rather than play on Passover evening. So first they were Jewish and secondly they were basketball players.

Chariots of Fire was a movie based on a true story of a British runner in the Olympics who was a devout Christian. The finals in his race was scheduled for Sunday. Rather than race he forfeited. The point is, what determines the actions we take? Is it our faith, society or our job, etc. So even though Joseph had changed on the outside, inside he was still a man committed to G-d. Like Joseph we must ensure that those things of society do not change our true identity as a child of the King. Our internal GPS must always point us to the Father and we must always keep before us that timeless question, “Who are we?”

2-c So this question is for your own personal checklist.  When someone asks you who are you what is your first response? How do you see yourself? What drives you? 

3-Jean and I have been pondering something we found in this Torah portion.  We would like your input. In Genesis 39:2 it says the L-rd (Hashem) was with Joseph. Then in Genesis 41:16, 25 and 38 in Joseph’s conversation with Pharaoh they both use the word G-d.  What difference do you think there is in these two names for our Heavenly Father? Do you think there is a reason a different term is used in each of these situations?

Pharaoh knew of many gods but he did not know our personal G-d whose name is Hashem, L-RD, Adonai.

Throughout Scripture G-d reveals Himself to us through His names. When we study these names that He reveals to us in the Bible, we will better understand who G-d really is. The meanings behind G-d’s names reveal the central personality and nature of the One who bears them.

The name Elohim (G-d) is a glorification of the awesome power of G-d that is displayed through nature. He is mightier than any other gods or false idols that govern the world today. He is the one true G-d under which every star, animal, rock, and human must bow to. In the Tanakh Elohim (G-d) occurs over 2000 times. Elohim is first used in Genesis 1:1.

The name L-RD (Hashem) first appears in Genesis 2:4. It is the personal name of G-d that he revealed to Moses when He called him to lead Israel out of Egypt in Exodus 3:14-15. Moses was commanded to tell the Israelites the name of the One who had sent him to lead G-d’s people out of Egypt. On recognizing the ultimate power and authority behind the name L-RD, the Israelites would know immediately that Moses had the blessings and strength of G-d behind him. This was the name by which G-d wanted to be known by His people – the name that expressed His character as, dependable, faithful, and trustworthy.

This name became forever associated with G-d’s redeeming acts, as the G-d who rescues and saves. For Israel, L-RD became the sacred covenant name for G-d and eventually was only spoken aloud by the priests worshiping in Jerusalem’s temple. Isaiah 42:8 says, “I am the L-RD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another.”

L-RD holds particular significance in Jewish tradition as a covenant name of G-d, the holiest of names, and it is held in the highest esteem. In fact, it is considered to be too holy to be even spoken aloud, Exodus 20:7. It is derived from the Hebrew word “I am”. 

After the destruction of the temple in AD 70, the name L-RD(Hashem) was not spoken or pronounced by the people as they feared mis-using the L-RD’s name. In Scriptural text, Adonai was substituted for L-RD and the correct pronunciation was lost. The Hebrew word Adonai is translated as L-RD.