Big Brother Is Watching
Amazing God, be the strength I desire, the power within me, that I might live the life You want for me.
Read Genesis 44:1-34
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
“Like a collector and restorer of classic cars, God’s work is not done when he buys a new model” (Gerard Kelly). The real work (in us) begins when he “overtakes” us with his grace.
Joseph is still at the heart of the narrative, but he is not alone. Another figure takes center stage beside him. When v. 18 declares that Judah “went up to him,” it signals an important twist in the story. Joseph is the victim of the cruelty of all his half-brothers. Only Benjamin, his blood brother, is innocent. But it is in the person of Judah that repentance is offered and redemption achieved. This is the story of all the brothers, but it becomes particularly the story of Judah.
Scholars who claim a late date for the authorship or editing of Genesis argue that this reveals the interests of the authors. By the time the book is finally written down, during the years of exile, the purposes of God have come to rest on the remnant of Israel, essentially represented in the tribe of Judah. It is important that the book tells their story. But it is not necessary to accept this view. Even if we believe Genesis was written much earlier, we can imagine the rapt attention members of the tribe of Judah would give to this text.
Joseph has devised a final test (1-5) and through it Judah finds the opportunity to act. He takes responsibility (18), reveals at last that he understands his father’s love for the younger brothers (32) and offers himself as a slave to buy the life of Benjamin (33). At last, Judah acts redemptively. Joseph has given him the opportunity to be his best self, and he takes it. The picture of grace here is rich and full. Forgiveness alone is not enough. Even reconciliation will not fulfill the dream. Joseph’s joy will be to see his brothers restored, able to be the elder brothers that in his youth they were unable or unwilling to be.
Picture someone who has offended you, or whose treatment of others offends you. What would it look like if, beyond forgiveness and reconciliation, they were restored?
Dear God, I pray today for those who are in the ministry of reconciliation: counselors, pastors, mediators, and many others. Use them to bring estranged people together.