Read Genesis 43:16-34
16When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, "Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare dinner; they are to eat with me at noon."
17The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph's house. 18Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, "We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys."
19So they went up to Joseph's steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. 20"Please, sir," they said, "we came down here the first time to buy food. 21But at the place where we stopped for the night we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver — the exact weight — in the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back with us. 22We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don't know who put our silver in our sacks."
23"It's all right," he said. "Don't be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver." Then he brought Simeon out to them.
24The steward took the men into Joseph's house, gave them water to wash their feet and provided fodder for their donkeys. 25They prepared their gifts for Joseph's arrival at noon, because they had heard that they were to eat there.
26When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground. 27He asked them how they were, and then he said, "How is your aged father you told me about? Is he still living?"
28They replied, "Your servant our father is still alive and well." And they bowed low to pay him honor.
29As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother's son, he asked, "Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?" And he said, "God be gracious to you, my son." 30Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there.
31After he had washed his face, he came out and, controlling himself, said, "Serve the food."
32They served him by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is detestable to Egyptians. 33The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the firstborn to the youngest; and they looked at each other in astonishment. 34When portions were served to them from Joseph's table, Benjamin's portion was five times as much as anyone else's. So they feasted and drank freely with him. (NIV)
The first sentence in the section speaks to our obedience. The brothers were obedient and brought Benjamin with them as they were instructed to do if they wished to see Simeon again. Obedience is one of the most overlooked traits in our walk with Christ. Too often we speak only of grace and lose sight that God wants our love and obedience. In fact grace flows from our love and obedience of God.
When the brothers were brought to the house of Joseph, fear gripped them. Their minds went to past actions in their lives. I think this is part of the fear Scripture speaks about when we stand before God. We stand before one has hold our life in his hands. Joseph held the brothers life in his hands. But we also go knowing that God is a forgiving God and that while we might have fear, there is forgiveness.
And forgiveness flows from confession. We see this in the next section. The brothers confess to what they thought they had done wrong. They even come willing to rectify the situation. And I love the response. Confession brings absolution. There is nothing more to do than receive God’s forgiveness and Grace. And this grace leads to Simeon being restored to the brothers.
When Joseph arrives, the brothers present their gifts for him. We do this weekly in our offerings. We honor God with our work, our offerings, and our life.
And the final section reflects what Paul said in Romans 9:18, “God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy.” And in what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:11 that the Holy Spirit “apportions [Spiritual Gifts] to each one as He determines.” God chooses to bless as he chooses. And we see as God blesses as he chooses, all are blessed and filled with joy. This is seen in the last line of the chapter, “So they feasted and drank freely with him.”
We don’t understand God’s ways and the ways he blesses. Ours is to respond to his love, his ways, and his call on our life. It is in responding that we find the fullness of God’s grace. God’s grace is there for all at some time or another because I believe he uses grace to call up to himself. But the fullness of Grace doesn’t come until we find that we can be obedient, that we can trust and obey his ways, and in doing so, find life abundant. And yes, we still need to approach God with fear and trembling. But we do that by respecting and loving him. We see this in children when they have done something wrong and know it. They come before their parents with fear and uncertainty. But even when they are punished, they are loved.
How hard is it for you to be obedient to God’s ways? Do you confess you failings before God or do you just assume he will forgive without confession? How do you receive God’s grace and how does it impact the way you live? These are questions we don’t always like to think about, but we need to every now and then. God wants to love us with all he has. Receive his love everyday.
Blessings and Peace