THE UNAVOIDABLE TRUTH
Loving Father, help me bring my struggling thoughts into focus, so that I may be with You more fully, and rejoice in You.
Read Genesis 42:25–38
25 Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to put each man’s silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. After this was done for them, 26 they loaded their grain on their donkeys and left.
27 At the place where they stopped for the night one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his silver in the mouth of his sack. 28 “My silver has been returned,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.”
Their hearts sank and they turned to each other trembling and said, “What is this that God has done to us?”
29 When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them. They said, 30 “The man who is lord over the land spoke harshly to us and treated us as though we were spying on the land. 31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we are not spies. 32 We were twelve brothers, sons of one father. One is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in Canaan.’
33 “Then the man who is lord over the land said to us, ‘This is how I will know whether you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take food for your starving households and go. 34 But bring your youngest brother to me so I will know that you are not spies but honest men. Then I will give your brother back to you, and you can trade[a] in the land.’”
35 As they were emptying their sacks, there in each man’s sack was his pouch of silver! When they and their father saw the money pouches, they were frightened. 36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!”
37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may put both of my sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him back.”
38 But Jacob said, “My son will not go down there with you; his brother is dead and he is the only one left. If harm comes to him on the journey you are taking, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in sorrow.”
- Genesis 42:34 Or move about freely
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.
ReflectRead Psalm 139:23–24 as a prayer.
In this epic story, the brothers are sometimes like the chorus overshadowed by the ‘bigger’ characters of Joseph and his father, Jacob. The refrain they sing is, ‘We are honest men’ (11,31,33,34). They keep chanting this refrain even though they know the truth is different (21).
Their father, Jacob, is on the one hand the same self-pitying, selfish man he has always been. All he can think of is his own loss. On the other hand, this scene dramatically shows that he may be deserving of more sympathy.
Like the older brother in Jesus’ parable of the two brothers (Luke 15), the brothers present themselves as loyal, dutiful sons, especially Reuben (37). But the reality is that beneath that veneer, they have treated their father abysmally, and Reuben has treated his father worst of all (49:4).
They have deliberately deprived him of Joseph, his beloved younger son, and put him through the unnecessary suffering of bereavement. Now he faces the possibility of losing his new ‘baby’, Benjamin. This wrong will have to be confronted and falsehoods exposed.
It is wise to look at the words we use to describe ourselves. Are they true? Or does the refrain we sing betray an uncomfortable truth that we are trying to hide? How can you live more authentically?
Words of the gospel hymn come to mind, “I am trusting Thee Lord Jesus, Trusting only Thee.…” Yes Lord, I am trusting You not just for salvation, but in all the ups and downs of my life!
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