February 14, 2008
THE NATURE WITHIN
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Genesis 45:16--28
Joseph's brothers not only had plenty to eat on the way, but had also been given new clothing. They had all that they needed---and they once again had it in abundance! These men must have really looked like something when they returned to Canaan, a land drying up under those lingering years of famine.
Notice, however, the one directive Joseph gave them: "Don't get into an argument on the journey!" He knew those men, didn't he? I can't help but smile at times in these biblical stories when little tidbits like that are inserted. Centuries may come and go, but human nature stays pretty much the same. It's impossible to erase depravity.
Not very many men can carry a full cup without its disturbing their equilibrium. Sudden wealth or promotion can be a tottering experience, both for the recipient and those surrounding him or her. Superiority, inferiority, arrogance, and jealousy can easily begin to hold sway. If you question that, check on those who win the lottery. Very few can handle the financial windfall.
Joseph had given his brother Benjamin more than he had given to the other brothers. He gave them all provisions and gave each of them new garments, but he gave Benjamin three hundred shekels of silver and five new garments. No doubt Joseph remembered well what had happened years before when he had been given more than the others, but he had his own reasons for giving Benjamin these items. He didn't want that to result in a fight. "So don't argue about it!" he told his brothers.
I think it is safe to say that we are to trust one another, but we are never to trust one another's nature. That's one of the reasons parents give their children the warnings that they do. Parents understand their children's natures better than their offspring do. It's not a question of trust; it's a matter of knowing the nature within.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.