WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 42
As this chapter opens, the predicted seven years of plenty followed by a severe famine is happening. We discover this famine was not just limited to Egypt but to the surrounding area. In fact, Jacob’s sons would have travelled perhaps more than 250 miles to Egypt and the round trip could have required maybe six weeks.
Nevertheless, Jacob sent ten of his sons to Egypt with money to buy grain. He made the decision to keep Benjamin at home. There are perhaps a couple of reasons for this. One, Benjamin was the youngest son. Two, Benjamin was, as far as Jacob knew, the last living son of his beloved Rachel. Three, after the episode with Joseph 30 years later, Jacob may not have trusted his other sons to do the right thing.
As Joseph deals with his brothers, they begin to think that they are being punished for their treatment of Joseph. In verse 22, Rueben makes two important statements. One, “Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy?” Two, “So now there comes a reckoning for his blood?”
It had been 30 years since the boys sold Joseph to the traders. But it seems the guilt of their actions was still eating away at them. It as though they fully expected to be punished for their grievous action at any moment. Rueben reinforces that when he talks about giving an answer for his (Joseph’s) blood.
One of the take aways from this is God has given us a conscience not to be a nuisance but to be a necessary check in our behavior. A good, healthy conscience brings to mind the things we have messed up so that we can clean them up. We need to be thankful for our conscience and its important but often painful. Another take away from this is our sin always requires a response. There is always a cost associated with our sin. Always. We either by grace through faith accept Jesus’ payment for our sin or we will pay eternally for our sin. In case you are wondering, it is a million times better to accept by grace through faith Jesus’ payment.
It is at this point in the story that we read in verse 24 about Joseph crying. While it is true that he walked away from the group to cry, at least we see him expressing emotion for his brothers and perhaps even for himself. It has often been said that it takes a big man to cry.
There are five other times that we will Joseph cry. One will be when he sees his brother Benjamin. The second will be when he reveals his identity to his brothers. The third will be when he sees his father, Jacob. The fourth will be when his father dies. And the fifth will be when he assured his brothers that they were truly forgiven.
What a person chooses to weep over is a good indication of that person’s character. So, what is it that causes you to cry? And what does that say about who you are?