Saturday 9 January, 2016

Genesis 42:26-38

27 When night came, they stopped. One of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey. He saw his money in the top of his sack. 28 “My money has been given back,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.” They had a sinking feeling in their hearts. They began to tremble. They turned to one another and said, “What has God done to us?” 29 They came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. They told him everything that had happened to them. They said, 30 “The man who is the governor of the land spoke to us in a mean way. He treated us as if we were spying on the land. 31 But we said to him, ‘We’re honest men. We aren’t spies. 32 We were 12 brothers. All of us were the sons of one father. But now one brother is gone. And our youngest brother is with our father in Canaan.’ 33 “Then the man who is the governor of the land spoke to us. He said, ‘Here’s how I will know whether you are honest men. Leave one of your brothers here with me. Take food for your hungry families and go. 34 But bring your youngest brother to me. Then I’ll know that you are honest men and not spies. I’ll give your brother back to you. And you will be free to trade in the land.’ ” 35 They began emptying their sacks. There in each man’s sack was his bag of money! When they and their father saw the money bags, they were scared to death. 36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You have taken my children away from me. Joseph is gone. Simeon is gone. Now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is going against me!” 37 Then Reuben spoke to his father. He said, “You can put both of my sons to death if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you. Trust me to take care of him. I’ll bring him back.” 38 But Jacob said, “My son will not go down there with you. His brother is dead. He’s the only one left here with me. Suppose he’s harmed on the journey you are taking. Then I would die as a sad old man.”

No wonder Joseph’s brothers were upset when they discovered that the money they had paid for the sacks of food had been returned. They recalled how sternly they had been treated by “the lord of the land of Egypt” and queried “what is God doing to us?” Their puzzled reaction reminded them of their harsh treatment of Joseph when without caring they sold him to a caravan of traders on their way to Egypt.

We, like Joseph, are tested most by the power that is ours and the way that we use it; we observe here how Joseph used his power for the betterment of his brothers rather than as an opportunity to vent all the bitter feelings that could have been his.

I observe that what Joseph’s brothers did not have was forgiveness for their sin against Joseph; the complete cleansing through the blood of Jesus Christ. Also, because of this, they had a distorted view of God and blamed Him for their predicament.

I realise that their question about God is being repeated many times over as violence and terrorism escalate throughout our world. Many people want to hold God responsible for these horrific events without realising that they are the result of the misuse of power dispensed by our arch enemy satan. We should not be deceived; God is in control and there will be a judgment day when Christ returns.

LORD God we believe you are the Almighty God who wields supreme power and we rejoice in the victory which is ours in Jesus Christ. Forgive us forever thinking we have the right to exercise power apart from that delegated to us for your kingdom’s sake.

Written by Keith Bennett

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