27 At the place where they stopped for the night one of them opened his sack to get feed for his donkey, and he saw his silver in the mouth of his sack. 28 “My silver has been returned,” he said to his brothers. “Here it is in my sack.” Their hearts sank and they turned to each other trembling and said, “What is this that God has done to us?” 29 When they came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan, they told him all that had happened to them. They said, 30 “The man who is lord over the land spoke harshly to us and treated us as though we were spying on the land. 31 But we said to him, ‘We are honest men; we are not spies. 32 We were twelve brothers, sons of one father. One is no more, and the youngest is now with our father in Canaan.’ 33 “Then the man who is lord over the land said to us, ‘This is how I will know whether you are honest men: Leave one of your brothers here with me, and take food for your starving households and go. 34 But bring your youngest brother to me so I will know that you are not spies but honest men. Then I will give your brother back to you, and you can trade[a] in the land.’” 35 As they were emptying their sacks, there in each man’s sack was his pouch of silver! When they and their father saw the money pouches, they were frightened. 36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You have deprived me of my children. Joseph is no more and Simeon is no more, and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!” 37 Then Reuben said to his father, “You may put both of my sons to death if I do not bring him back to you. Entrust him to my care, and I will bring him back.” 38 But Jacob said, “My son will not go down there with you; his brother is dead and he is the only one left. If harm comes to him on the journey you are taking, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in sorrow.”
Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery all those years ago, and it had seemed that they got away with it. Yes, their father was deeply distressed, but it appears that there were no real negative consequences for them, perhaps apart from their own guilt.
Now, years later, do they begin to feel the consequences. They experience confusion and yet again must bring bad news to their father. I find it interesting that they say, ‘What is this that God has done to us?’ – they interpret their misfortune as coming from God. It makes sense in that earlier in the chapter (42:21-22) they say that they are being punished for what they did to Joseph.
What seeds am I sowing for the future? Am I living in such a way that I look forward with dread or expectation? How are my decisions now shaping what I may experience in 5, 10 or 20 years? Am I taking time to listen to God and let Him shape my thinking, feeling and acting? Am I walking in obedience to Him?
God, I can be so fixated on the moment and what is shouting loudly at me right now. Please help me to live present to the moment, but with my eyes on the horizon. Help me this week to take time to listen to you and follow your leading, that I would live well now and sow good seeds for the future. Amen.
Written by Ps. Bethany Waugh