Archive for July 19th, 2011

Genesis 43

Genesis 43 is all about forgiveness and restoration.  Joseph had sent the 10 brothers home to get Benjamin.  They are once again without anything to eat, and Jacob tells them to go back.  But they refuse to go unless they take Benjamin along – because that is what Joseph had demanded.  Jacob is beside himself and asks “Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother”?  He can’t understand why they ever mentioned their little brother in the first place.  Of course in true human form they point fingers and make excuses – which is what we all do when challenged – isn’t it?

Judah steps forward this time and pledges safety for Benjamin if Jacob will only let them go get more grain.  After all they are starving to death slowly.  Jacob finally gives in due to the dire situation, and tells them to take “a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds” as gifts for man with the grain.  He also tells them to “take double the money with you” to pay back what was not paid on the first visit.  Of course it was not what Jacob expected.  “Perhaps it was an oversight” seemed like the logical reason for the mistake – but of course it was Joseph’s generosity and love for family that made him return the money.  But they don’t know that and “took double the money” as they headed back for more food.

As they arrive Joseph tells his guys “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon”.  Of course the brothers think they are in trouble over the money from the last visit – so they are worried about the situation ahead.  But what we see is a demonstration of love and grace.  This could have gone a very different way had Joseph held on to bitterness in his heart.  But God used the situation to raise up Joseph for such a time as this – so he could impact the future lineage of Jesus and keep them alive.  Joseph assures the brothers not to worry. “Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you”.  Can you see the grace here?  Joseph kills the fatted calf to celebrate their return – sort of reminds one of the story of the prodigal son doesn’t it?

As they gather for the meal, Joseph asks “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive”?  He so missed his dad.  And as he interacts with his brothers, emotion overtakes him and “he sought a place to weep”.  How differently this story would have ended had Joseph not allowed his heart to be filled with love and mercy rather than dwelling on what they had done to him in the past.  As the brothers sat at the table and enjoyed the feast that had been prepared – “the men looked at one another in amazement….they drank and were merry with him”.  What a picture of God’s mercy and grace.  They deserved something much different – yet Joseph showers them with his love and affection.  Oh that we would learn to love like God and Joseph!

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