HANDLE WITH CARE!
Holy God, move me to hear Your voice today. I want to honor You by paying attention, by listening carefully to Your voice.
Read Genesis 42:1–24
Joseph’s Brothers Go to Egypt
42 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?” 2 He continued, “I have heard that there is grain in Egypt. Go down there and buy some for us, so that we may live and not die.”
3 Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt. 4 But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him. 5 So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan also.
6 Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the person who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7 As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he asked.
“From the land of Canaan,” they replied, “to buy food.”
8 Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. 9 Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”
10 “No, my lord,” they answered. “Your servants have come to buy food. 11 We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies.”
12 “No!” he said to them. “You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”
13 But they replied, “Your servants were twelve brothers, the sons of one man, who lives in the land of Canaan. The youngest is now with our father, and one is no more.”
14 Joseph said to them, “It is just as I told you: You are spies! 15 And this is how you will be tested: As surely as Pharaoh lives, you will not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. 16 Send one of your number to get your brother; the rest of you will be kept in prison, so that your words may be tested to see if you are telling the truth. If you are not, then as surely as Pharaoh lives, you are spies!” 17 And he put them all in custody for three days.
18 On the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God: 19 If you are honest men, let one of your brothers stay here in prison, while the rest of you go and take grain back for your starving households. 20 But you must bring your youngest brother to me, so that your words may be verified and that you may not die.” This they proceeded to do.
21 They said to one another, “Surely we are being punished because of our brother. We saw how distressed he was when he pleaded with us for his life, but we would not listen; that’s why this distress has come on us.”
22 Reuben replied, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen! Now we must give an accounting for his blood.” 23 They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.
24 He turned away from them and began to weep, but then came back and spoke to them again. He had Simeon taken from them and bound before their eyes.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIs there a situation which you long to be resolved?
Have you ever ‘blown it’ by trying to bring a delicate situation to resolution too early? As the personal, political, and theological strands of Joseph’s story begin to converge, he has to act with great care. A lot is at stake here.
Joseph (8,24) and his brothers (21) are acutely aware of the impact of earlier events on their personal relationship. Politically, there has been a shift of power – the abused little brother is now the prince of Egypt. Theologically, the purposes of God revealed to Joseph in his dreams (9) can now be fulfilled. The story operates at these three levels, and so must Joseph.
Joseph has a power advantage over his brothers. He recognizes them, but they don’t recognize him. He is free to do what he likes because he is hidden. However, he wants to move to being known. Joseph’s self-restraint is remarkable. As he focuses his brothers’ attention on their youngest brother, and the possibility of their father losing him, they must confront their earlier treatment of Joseph. Slowly, they will arrive at the point where he can reveal himself and be reunited with his family. Jesus also exercised patience as He waited to be revealed (John 7:6–8).
What is it in your past from which you seek freedom? Have you found this in Christ? Are there still practical consequences to work through?
Lord, I ask for wisdom and patience as I wait for a situation to be resolved.