Family Solidarity Tested
“He makes me lie down in green pastures,…he restores my soul” (Psa. 23:2,3a). Lord, I pray for refreshment in Your presence today.
Read GENESIS 44:1-34
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Repentance is no fun at all” (C.S. Lewis). It’s no “fun” but there’s no relief from the burden of guilt without it.
Joseph contrives a second test for his unsuspecting brothers that will indicate how seriously they take the protection of their youngest brother and care for their aging father. Will their innocence and fear in the face of accusation lead them to compromise their family solidarity to save their own skins? He has already accused them of being spies, and overheard their sense of guilt at betraying him so long ago—but is their regret genuine and life-changing? He has observed their honesty in returning the silver planted in their sacks, and their determination to protect “the boy,” Benjamin (22), but are they just men intent on survival, or changed, repentant people?
A prized cup hidden in the possession of his most favored brother and an accusation of theft might just elicit the answers Joseph was looking for. The exact nature of the silver cup used “for divination” (5) is unknown, but it was probably used for telling the future. Lecanomancy, reading patterns formed by pouring oil on water or interpreting omens in reflections on water, was common in the ancient world. We know that Joseph sometimes gained his insight and wisdom about the future from dreams given and interpreted by God, but the ability to use these contemporary techniques might have reinforced his superior role under Pharaoh in the kingdom. Whatever the significance, the cup’s disappearance was sufficient for a recall of the brothers to Joseph’s presence. Their consistently humble and polite protestations verify a solid commitment to each other, and Judah’s willingness to take the punishment in Benjamin’s place sets the scene for authentic reconciliation. That true repentance has visible outcomes is a timeless principle.
Do you face a situation in your family, work or church that needs reconciliation and, perhaps, repentance? Ask God for wisdom as you seek to resolve it.
Lord, I pray You’ll give me Your power to trust and live each day according to Your will.