Gracious Lord God, I’m so grateful for the forgiveness and closeness to You I have because of Jesus’ sacrifice.
Read Genesis 42:1-24
 When Jacob learned that there was grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why do you just keep looking at each other?”  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.”  Then ten of Joseph’s brothers went down to buy grain from Egypt.  But Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others, because he was afraid that harm might come to him.  So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan also.  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.  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.”  Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him.  Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, “You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”  “No, my lord,” they answered. “Your servants have come to buy food.  We are all the sons of one man. Your servants are honest men, not spies.”  “No!” he said to them. “You have come to see where our land is unprotected.”  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.”  Joseph said to them, “It is just as I told you: You are spies!  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.  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!”  And he put them all in custody for three days.  On the third day, Joseph said to them, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God:  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.  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.  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.”  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.”  They did not realize that Joseph could understand them, since he was using an interpreter.  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. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
ReflectHow did his brothers see Joseph's test and demands (21,22)?
Once again, the brothers take Joseph by surprise. The first 17 years of his life suddenly come crashing into his Egyptian life in the form of ten all-too-familiar faces. It could be about twenty years since he last saw them, and yet he recognizes them. He must also realize that this is the fulfillment of his first dream (37:6,7). Thinking quickly, he initiates a series of difficult tests. It would be easy to assume that Joseph had, after all, been storing up resentment and hatred towards his brothers for many years and now wants revenge. Or, that he wants to hear them grovel and profusely apologize before he forgives them. Whatever his motivation, the tests that Joseph puts them through are to find out crucial information. If he is to trust them and reveal who he is, Joseph has to know whether they are genuinely repentant for what they did to him. If not, then true reconciliation might not be possible. Joseph’s answer starts to appear in v. 21. The brothers seem to be changed men. In fact, no one is beyond change. God’s redemptive love and forgiveness is free to all who ask.
Who do you know who might need to know about God’s redemptive love and forgiveness? Pray for them now.
Loving Lord, I’m grateful for the love and forgiveness You’ve given me. May I freely give the same to others.
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