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Bible Pathways 1/15/2004

January 15

Read Genesis 43 -- 45

In Today's Reading:

Jacob's sons return to Egypt for food; Judah offers to take the place of Benjamin; Joseph makes himself known to his brothers

During the great famine, Jacob was forced to send his sons to Egypt to buy food. As the second most powerful ruler of Egypt spoke to them through an interpreter, they were unaware that he was their brother Joseph whom they had sold into slavery over 20 years earlier.

After questioning them about their family, Joseph had his brothers imprisoned for three days to test and to develop their integrity (Genesis 42:17). During their stay in prison, they recalled how their younger brother Joseph had pleaded with them not to be sold as a slave to the Ishmaelite traders on their way to Egypt. Now, in an Egyptian prison, they humbly confessed what a terrible act of cruelty they had committed. And they said one to another, We are verily (truly) guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us (42:21). Simeon was then held hostage in Egypt until they brought their youngest brother to Egypt (42:24).

When Jacob's sons returned home without Simeon, he was told of the ruler's demand to bring his youngest son Benjamin to Egypt before they could buy any more food. Jacob was deeply distressed, and said: My son shall not go down with you (42:38). However, as their food supply depleted and the famine continued, he had no choice but to let Benjamin return with his brothers to Egypt.

Joseph demanded that his brothers come to his home. Imagine their shock when he said, in their Hebrew language: I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt (45:4). To their amazement, he lovingly added: Be not . . . angry with yourselves, that you sold me here: for God did send me before you to preserve life (45:5).

For years, Joseph's brothers had deceived their father and had escaped all accountability for their cruel sin against Joseph. Now they were forced to confess to their father what they had done. Joseph explained: You sold me; but God did send me. Although God used their wickedness to fulfill His will, this did not lessen their guilt. But, regardless of how cruel someone has been, if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:14-15).

Word Studies:

43:7 straitly = specifically; tenor = had to answer him; 43:25 against Joseph came = to await Joseph's arrival; 43:30 bowels = heart; 44:12 left at = finished with; 45:16 fame = news; 45:24 fall not out by the way = have no argument.

Christ Revealed:

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 (Genesis 45:5-8,15; compare Romans 5:8; Ephesians 1:17,20-22).

Pray For:

Government Official: Gov. Mark Sanford (SC) · Country: Lebanon (4 million) in the Middle East · Major languages: Arabic and French · Limited religious freedom · 67% Muslim; 19% Roman Catholic; 10% Eastern Orthodox; 1% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: God wants to be exalted through you (Psalm 46:10).

Optional Reading: Matthew 15

Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:4

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