Highlights In Today's Reading:
What an awesome experience! Can you imagine the emotions flowing through the minds of Joseph's brothers as he reveals himself to them?
Unrecognized by his brothers, Joseph gave them strict orders that they must bring their youngest brother Benjamin when they returned, or they would not be allowed to buy any more food. Hearing this, they were once again stricken with feelings of deep guilt over selling Benjamin's older brother Joseph.
After questioning them about their family, Joseph had them put in prison for three days — not for revenge, but to give them time to think about their sinful past (42:17). Joseph wept secretly as he heard his brothers confess how evil they had been in selling him into slavery (42:21-24).
Joseph then demanded that Simeon be kept hostage until they brought their youngest brother as proof they were telling the truth — that they were no spies but in need of food (42:11). After their return home, Jacob was deeply distressed about the demand to bring Benjamin to Egypt. Not until they were in desperate need and there was no choice — either starve or let him go — would Jacob permit his sons to take Benjamin on their next journey (43:1-14).
Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land . . . And take double money in your hand . . . And God Almighty give you mercy (43:11-14).
In Egypt their sacks were once again filled. As they were returning home, they were arrested and their sacks searched. Joseph's silver goblet was discovered in Benjamin's sack (44:12) where it had been secretly placed by Joseph's steward (44:1). Benjamin was immediately taken into custody. The brothers were all forced to return to Egypt and, in fear, met at the ruler's home. Judah begged to take Benjamin's place, pleading that they could not face their father knowing how heartbroken he would be. Although the cup in his sack made Benjamin look guilty, Judah was ready to become a slave to set Benjamin free (44:33-34).
Like Joseph, our Lord in loving-kindness is merciful. He brings us to the place where we no longer attempt to defend ourselves but confess that we are undeserving sinners. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not (Lam. 3:22).
Joseph's exalted position never caused him to lose sight of his loyalty to God. Consequently, he held no hatred or bitterness for his brothers' cruelty. The Holy Spirit will work the same in the hearts of all who allow God to control their lives.
Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels (hearts) of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering . . . forgiving one another . . . even as Christ forgave you (Col. 3:12-13).
Thought for Today:
The circumstances of our lives change day by day. Much of life is dealing with the good and the bad times of our lives and responding properly to what comes.
Through Joseph's dealings with his brothers. Christ deals with us in such a way as to bring about our confession of sin and a recognition of His forgiving love. In a similar way, He reveals His sovereignty over the affairs of life (Gen. 45:5-8,15; compare Rom. 5:8; Eph. 1:17,20-22).
43:1 sore =severe; 43:6 ill =trouble; 43:7 straitly =specifically; tenor =he merely answered his questions; 43:17 bade =ordered; 43:25 the present against Joseph =gifts ready for Joseph; 43:28 made obeisance =vowed low in respect; 43:30 bowels =heart; upon =toward; 43:32 set on for him =set a place for him; abomination =detestable; 43:34 messes =servings; 44:10 servant =slave; 44:15 divine =would be able to know; 44:34 evil =suffering; 45:3 troubled =terrified; 45:6 earing =flowing, harvest; 45:17 lade =load; 45:18 fat =rest; 45:24 fall not out =to not quarrel.
Pray for Staff: George Kopchak • Country: Uganda (23 million) in eastern Africa • Major languages: English and Luganda • Religious freedom • 51% Roman Catholic; 30% Protestant; 10% animist; 7% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Seek the Lord in prayer, turn from your sinful ways, and God will have mercy and pardon for you (Is. 55:6-7).
Optional Reading: Matthew 15
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 4:4