January 30, 2008
by Charles R. Swindoll
Read Genesis 42:25-28
Joseph's brothers wanted to get out of Egypt, like, fast. When the sacks of grain were loaded on their donkeys, they immediately began their journey back to Canaan. But something happened on the first night they stopped to rest and feed and water the animals. When one of the brothers opened a sack to get food for his donkey, he saw that the money he had paid to the prime minister of Egypt was tucked into the top of the bag.
"I can't believe this!" he exclaimed. "Look! My money has been returned. It's here in the sack."
The other brothers quickly opened their sacks and discovered that their money had been returned to them also.
Instead of being happy about this surprise, however, they were frightened. "Their hearts sank, and they turned trembling to one another." The Hebrew word that is translated "trembling" is the same word used in 1 Samuel 14:15 to describe a giant earthquake. It's also used in Genesis 27:33 to describe the trembling of Isaac when he learned that his son Jacob had stolen Esau's birthright. In fact, we read there that Isaac "trembled violently." He shook, literally! That's what Joseph's brothers began to do. They began to shake. They began to tremble as they looked at one another. It was then they said, "What is this that God has done to us?"
I love that statement. Not only are they now feeling the full brunt of their own guilt, they are also sensing God's hand in this. "What is God doing?"
When God softens a seared conscience we begin to gain a different perspective. Sometimes we become victims of the kind of treatment we have meted out to someone else. When the harm, the hurt, or the pain that we brought on someone else is visited upon us, something begins to change within us. God begins to break through our hard shell and soften our hearts that had become calloused.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.