They broke bread together the night before and in the morning Joseph’s brothers will be on their merry way, but little do they know that they’re still being tested. Joseph has his house steward plant a silver cup in the sack of his youngest brother Benjamin, and then overtakes them on their journey, in his quest to retrieve his cup and capture the culprit. The sons of Jacob deny any part in any of this, so much so that we read in:
Genesis 44:9 (NKJV) “With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.”
The steward finds the silver cup in the sack of Benjamin.
Genesis 44:13 (NKJV) “Then they tore their clothes, and each man loaded his donkey and returned to the city.”
Why did Joseph do this? It’s obvious to see that he was testing his brothers to find out if there was any conviction, any change of heart, any love for their father or each other after all these years? Would they allow Benjamin stay in Egypt as a slave, essentially doing the same thing to him as they had done to Joseph 15 years earlier?
Miraculously, Joseph discovered that something HAD changed. All the brothers were repentant and Judah begged that he’d be taken as slave in Benjamin’s place, his heart could not bear the thought of the pain it would cause his father, Jacob to lose another son, who yes, he favored.
They had passed the test. Joseph could no longer restrain himself, and he revealed his identity to his brothers. I’m blown away with Joseph’s words in:
Genesis 45:5 (NKJV) “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.”
Joseph almost softens the blow of conviction by telling his brothers, not to feel bad about what they did; that it was all part of God’s plan to save lives. Joseph goes on to say in:
Genesis 45:7–8 (NKJV) “And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.”
Joseph embraced his brothers and and wept on their necks (Genesis 45:14-15). He harbored no bitterness and had completely forgiven them. Wow! How many of have not forgiven people who have done far less to us?
How was Joseph able to forgive like this? By the strength that God gives, and by the plan that God has.
Joseph saw the Providence of God even in the Pit and the Prison which led to the Palace. God help us to see the same truth for all of our lives, we’re in His hands and nowhere else, and He will take those tragedies to victories, He will make a message out the mess, He will grant a testimony through all of our testing, and He really does make beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
I’m elated when I consider how Jacob must have felt in hearing the news that not only was his son Joseph alive, but he was, “…a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler through all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 45:8). The Bible says Jacob’s heart stood still when they told him; but the shock developed into determination, he would make the journey to see his son…who in one sense hd been raised from the dead.
Joseph is a typology of Jesus in many ways, hated by his brethren, victorious over temptation, sold for silver, and especially in the fact that He saved the world, but I love what we see in this section, how he is revealed to his brothers (the sons of Israel) the second time around. Jesus will be made known to the Jews, at His Second Coming.
After the beheading of John the Baptist, Jesus departed by boat to be alone with His Father. He felt the deep pain of the passing of a loved one, again.
But it was difficult for Christ to be alone, especially during the day. When the people found out He was in their proximity, they came to Him, and He saw them, had compassion for them, and healed them. As the day wore on, the crowd had not eaten, so the suggestion from the Apostles was to send the people away. But Jesus chose to feed them Himself, which He did, with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 measly fish. He fed 5,000 men, plus women and children.
Jesus goes on to walk on water (symbolic of all enemies under His feet) and He even empowered Peter to walk on water, who took that step of faith and prevailed when he kept his eyes on Jesus (teaching us that if we step out of the boat and stay focused on God, we also can walk supernaturally and defy demonic gravity).
There are innumerable lessons to learn in all of this, but the most important point is having a firm understanding of who this is.
Who can make everyone whole – even perfectly well? (Matthew 14:36)
Who can feed the world?
Who can walk on water, empower me/us to walk on water, and still the storm in a sliver of a second?
Jesus proves who He is, the Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Lord and compassionate Lover of our souls. Let’s react with the same response the Apostles had – recognition and adoration. We read in:
Matthew 14:33 (NKJV) “Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly You are the Son of God.’”
David is praising God for the way He has defeated his enemies and fulfilled His promise to make him king. It was a word he heard as a young man, when no one else believed in him, not even his dad, but God did, and God anointed him through the prophet Samuel promising that one day he would be king (1 Samuel 16:1-13).
The prophet pointed to that destiny, but the path didn’t. David’s path of preparation was dirty, dusty, demonic, and diabolic; it led to the double-edged sword of doubt and discouragement, deep, deep depression, and even despair.
Had God changed His mind? No, He hadn’t, and in His perfect timing God’s dream for David came to pass. This Psalm praises Him for that.
Can you imagine the day when we look back with that same perspective? (Joshua 23:14; 1 Kings 8:56) One day my Christian friend, one day.
Psalm 18:46 (NKJV) “The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.”
How awesome it is to be taught and led by God’s wisdom in life; to walk, run, and win this race we’re in. God help us to hold tight to these truths.
Proverbs 4:13 (NKJV) “Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life.”
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.