Saturday, February 26, 2011

Joseph Sees Benjamin -- Genesis 43:16-17

When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to his house steward, “Bring the men into the house, and slay an animal and make ready; for the men are to dine with me at noon.”  So the man did as Joseph said, and bought the men to Joseph’s house. 

Jacob’s sons including Benjamin have returned to Egypt and stand before the Egyptian in charge of selling them food, not knowing it was their brother Joseph.  There is no record of any words being exchanged between them at this time.  Joseph seeing his younger brother, the only other son of his beloved mother Rachel, simply spoke to his house steward and instructed him to take them all to his house for they were going to eat with him there at noon that day.  Can you imagine the thoughts going through the head of each one of the bothers as they stood before this Egyptian who seemed to just ignore them.  What was this all about?

And Joseph did not stop there in his instructions to his steward.  He ordered that the steward slay an animal and make the necessary preparations for a special meal.  When the brothers finally figured out what was about to happen, they were stunned.  Was this really happening?  Was it a trap of some kind?   In no time, they found themselves in Joseph’s house.

Have you ever been in similar circumstances?  I mean really being so pleasantly surprised by what was going on instead of all the things that you really deserved to happen and you knew someone had every right to exercise over your shortcomings.

Once in a while when I’m in charge of my grandchildren when their parents are out or away, and one or more of them do something they know was wrong, I call them to me and they know they’re in trouble.  But as they approach me, I sit myself down, draw them close to me, put my arms around them, and tell them first how much I love them, then tell them why what they did was wrong, and how I was sorry they did it, that I hoped they had learned from their mistake, and would not do it again.  And then I say, “let’s go and play”.

I personally don’t remember that ever happening to me as a child.  Maybe it did or maybe it didn’t.  I don’t know if I learned from my parents or from my Heavenly Father.  I tend to think it is the latter because that is exactly how He deals with us, His children that He loves very much.

While we wait to see exactly how the story of Joseph and his brothers works out, I think the lesson for us today is to reflect on the times that God (and perhaps our loving parents if we were that fortunate) expressed His love towards us in a way that we did not deserve and to remember how relieved we were.  He did that when He died on the cross for our sins and He accepts us as righteous to be presented before Himself because of His Son’s death in our place, for our sins.

I think somehow we need to remember that as we reflect not only on our relationship with Him, but also on our relationship with others.  If God did that for us, do we not have a responsibility to accept and forgive others who may have wronged us?  I think we do.

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