Scripture Reading: Genesis 43:15-34
“And the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, ‘It is because of the money, which was replaced in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may assault us and fall upon us to make us servants and seize our donkeys.” (Genesis 43:18)
We come back to God’s dealings with Joseph’s brothers. God was at work in the lives of these men. They would become the Old Testament foundation blocks of Christ’s Church. The great covenant promises of God to Abraham would be passed on to them and from them would come the Old Testament Church.
As we have seen, Joseph’s brothers were godless, immoral men. Yet God transformed their lives. God had awakened their consciences. They finally came to the place where they admitted their guilt — “Then they said to one another, ‘In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us'” (42:21). Their consciences were awakened. They admitted their guilt, but they still had a way to go. God was using Joseph as His primary agent in the lives of these men.
When the brothers were brought to Joseph’s house, they were filled with fear (v. 18). What would Joseph do to them? What had he done with Simeon? What would he do with Benjamin? God used the power of fear in the lives of the brothers. But He also used the power of love.
Joseph showered his brothers with expression of his love for them. Joseph’s steward reassured the brothers about their money. The steward said, “Peace to you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money” (v. 23). Then Simeon was returned to them unharmed.
Upon their return, the brothers were treated like friends, not like spies (v. 24). When Joseph arrived he spoke kindly to them (vs. 26-30). Then he had a feast prepared for his brothers (vs. 31-34).
The older brothers had greatly sinned against Joseph in the past; but now Joseph loved them and treated them graciously. Joseph’s gracious treatment of his brothers was the result of God’s grace upon his life. He was able to love his brothers in spite of what they had done to him.
Here is a beautiful picture of the gospel at work. God has treated us graciously even when we were alienated from Him — “For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:9,10). We are similar to Joseph’s brothers in many ways. We have hurt others, acted selfishly and irresponsibly, and dishonored God. When we admit our unworthiness, confess our sins and repent of them, and turn to Jesus, we will be reconciled to God. Then we will be able to love and forgive those who have sinned against us. This is the gospel at work!
Lord God, I know that I have failed You miserably at times. I have sinned against You and other people. I am unworthy of Your goodness and am so grateful for Your grace. Your Son made it possible for me to be reconciled to You. And He makes it possible for me to love and forgive those who have done me wrong.
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