TEXT: Genesis 43-45
In these chapters, we see the continuation of Joseph’s “roller-coaster” story when he is reunited with his brothers. However, he tests his brothers’ remorse (or lack of) with the demand that they bring their youngest brother, Benjamin, if/when they return for more grain, knowing that his father Jacob would be reluctant to let go of his youngest son. For if Joseph had been the favourite son, Benjamin was the second-favourite. After a second test of the brothers’ attitude with hiding Joseph’s own cup among their sacks of grain, demanding its return and imposing punishment that Benjamin be kept as hostage, Joseph was able to trust his brothers sufficiently to reveal himself to them. After a very emotional reunion, he sent them back with the food and requested them to bring his father Jacob, and to move to Egypt.
A major thread in this story is that of repentance and forgiveness between Joseph and his brothers. A second major thread is that of God’s sovereign arranging of circumstances in our individual lives, i.e. “you meant this for evil but God meant it for good”.
We can put off our regrets and past poor choices and our sins but they come back to haunt us. Or perhaps it is God who is bringing them to our remembrance and is reminding us that we need to deal with these deeds we thought were history and gone from our lives. God cares about our deep healing which requires us to repent of our past mis-doings and seek forgiveness. We need to seek God’s forgiveness and seek forgiveness from our brothers and sisters, our parents, and our children.
We may be reluctant to proclaim that God is active in our lives, thinking that he is far away and we don’t know that he really cares about us. This story of Joseph and his interpretation of what God is doing in his life ought to challenge that kind of wrong thinking. God cares for each person. God cares enough to order our life’s circumstances so we can experience his goodness.
Oh Lord God, we pray that your Holy Spirit would reveal to me areas of sin and bitterness so I can repent. Forgive us oh Lord, in our distress and cause us to forgive those who have sinned against us and whom we’ve sinned against. Forgive the guilt of our sin, (Psalm 32:5). Our times are in your hands oh God. Save us in your steadfast love, (Ps.31:14-16).
No Longer Slaves (Jonathan David and Melissa Helser)
How deep the Father’s Love for Us (Fernado Ortega)
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.