God of the Second Chance
Sovereign Lord God, in all things You are God and Your will prevails. I trust You for this day.
Read Genesis 43:1-34
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
“We are called by Christ to be different by being loving … by daring to face people who we’ve offended and who have offended us” (A. Marin).
The book of Genesis takes on the drama and complexity of a Dickens novel as Joseph’s brothers try to persuade their father to let them return with Benjamin. Unknown to Joseph, his brothers are coming close to passing the test he has set for them. Their attitude to Benjamin stands in stark contrast to their attitude, years earlier, to Joseph (9). It is Judah who stands as Benjamin’s protector. They are moving towards a return, and their care for Benjamin, their commitment to Simeon (14) and their attitude to the returned money (12) are all signs of their integrity. Time, hardship and their father’s grief have softened the hearts of the once-cruel brothers, and the stage is set for reconciliation.
Grace is slowly winning. The first evidence is the drama of the returned money. The brothers fear accusation (18), but receive, instead, grace (23): Joseph’s action is a graphic picture of what grace feels like. The second is the feast (31). Joseph is overwhelmed when he sees Benjamin; his warring emotions are urging him to reveal himself. He is still not ready, but he cannot help but throw a banquet for his brothers. Still unsure if he can trust himself to acknowledge them, he knows at least that he desires to see them happy.
Even before I am ready to talk of forgiveness, God may be working in my heart to desire the blessing of my enemy. I may not be able to forgive, but things begin to change when I discover that I am able to want to. And even if that is beyond me, the very fact that I want to want to might itself be the first sign of a thaw.
Is there someone toward whom you need to show grace? Ask God for the desire to reach out to them with grace, and the opportunity to do so.
Merciful Father, impress on me Your grace that I may show it to others, particularly to those who are sorely troubled.
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