Today you should read: Genesis 43:1-34
Since our church has been neck-deep in a series on forgiveness (Philemon), this passage is especially helpful. We don’t see full restoration of Jacob’s sons for a few chapters, but we do see Joseph’s heart start to change. Eventually, there would be forgiveness and healing, but not before a few tests, awkward conversations, and identity-masking.
Jacob had a tough time of letting this interaction even happen. Simeon was being held by Joseph, and to his knowledge, Joseph was dead. Now, risking the life of his baby boy, Benjamin, was a tangible possibility. You could see his heart ache deeply. Still, he let his boys go back to Egypt, and sent them with more money and the best gifts he had to offer. In that moment, the fear of them not returning must have been palpable.
Judah and the brothers arrived to an oddly pleasant reception. They were expecting a business deal; they got a buffet. Benjamin got the biggest plate. While it was nice, they thought it was a trap and feared enslavement. Joseph’s happy welcome put them at ease for a moment.
Then, Joseph saw Benjamin.
This part of the passage has brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. He never thought he would see his little brother again. The reunion will get even better in a few chapters, but the moment that they were in each other’s presence was moving to Joseph. After all, they had the same mother, and she died giving birth to Benjamin. Their bond was special. Joseph was so overtaken with emotion that he left the room to weep.
Joseph could have seen this whole thing as a nice opportunity for retribution. Instead, he took the lead from God and was an incredible picture of grace.
How would the average Joe (pun intended) respond in this kind of situation? How would you have responded if these were your brothers?
By: Todd Thomas
3 thoughts on “March 2, 2016”
Thanks Todd! I always have to pause and re-read the section where Joseph weeps as well. This and the following passages paint so vividly the emotion of reconciliation and forgiveness – sometimes I feel the need to just bathe in those emotions in order to truly ‘get it’.
Like any story that is well told, I enjoy exploring the tension between the scorned and the accused. It’s so thick in most of this passage! The hospitality of Jacob and then of Joseph! And then Judah — how much has his heart changed — now protective of the youngest son? Over the years how much had they laughed at the memory of the absurd dream of Joseph?
Thank you for Jumpstart today! Pray for mom, surgery is tomorrow morning. If I’m not online (here) tomorrow, know that I am still with you but that time withholds me from fully enjoying the community of Jumpstart!
When I read this passage earlier this year I realized that Jacob was holding Benjamin up as an idol now that Joseph was ‘dead’ and it hurt him to have to let Benjamin go, possibly to never see him again. However, he never could’ve imagined that by letting go of his grip on Benjamin he would receive back so much more in being reunited with Joseph.
What ‘Benjamins’ am I holding onto without realizing the bigger and better plans that God has on the other side of releasing them to His control, trusting Him to still be good and fulfilling either way?