Year 2 Day 295
Read - Genesis 44
Message - Scott Woodburn
There was unquestionably evidence that the Lord had done a work of grace in the lives of Joseph’s brothers but there would be one final test. Joseph commanded his servant to send his brothers on their way back home with an abundance of provisions but the servant was also to take Joseph’s silver cup and place into Benjamin’s sack (v1-2). The steward was then to overtake Joseph’s brothers and accuse them of theft (v4-5)
Everything happened as Joseph commanded and needless to say Joseph’s brothers protested their innocence. They were so confident of their innocence that they promised that if one of them had stolen the cup he would die and the rest would willingly become servants of Joseph (v9). The steward didn’t threaten death but instead he made it clear that the thief would become Joseph’s servant while the rest could go home (v10).
As the brothers opened their sacks eventually the silver cup was found in Benjamin’s belongings causing great anguish among the sons of Israel (v11-13). Soon the brothers went back to the house of Joseph and fell before him. Judah spoke for his brothers and promised that all eleven would become Joseph’s slaves - God had found them guilty (v16).
Yet Joseph offered all but Benjamin a way out - only Benjamin would become a slave, the others could go home (v17). What an offer! Certainly Israel would be distraught at the loss of Benjamin. It would mean that essentially both Rachel’s sons would now be considered dead but at least the lives of the other ten would be free. Previously Judah and his brothers had thought nothing about their father’s welfare. They were prepared to kill Joseph and lied to Israel about his son - surely Judah and the boys would leave Benjamin high and dry and head for Canaan?
Perhaps the Judah of years before would have taken this approach but not the Judah of Genesis 44. Judah passionately speaks to Joseph and we see the old selfishness is gone. As far as he is concerned it is simply not possible to return to his father without his beloved son Benjamin. Judah is clear, his father has already lost Joseph and losing Benjamin would send him to his grave. Instead he proposes a solution - Judah will stay in Egypt as Joseph’s slave. Judah will become a substitute so his brother might go free (v33).
Judah’s love and compassion for his father and little brother shines out. The Lord’s hand of providence had brought this situation to a head. Slowly but surely he chipped away at the hard hearts of Joseph’s brothers. Judah now realised that God had declared them guilty in their treatment of Joseph and here they now were bowing before their brother as he once had seen in a dream. No longer do they seem to be filled with wickedness but instead repentance and contrition.
Behold the grace of God! All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and yet He reaches into the pit and redeems guilty sinners. Christ is the Lion of Judah who becomes the willing substitute for His people. He dies a sinner’s death so that we might go free. We were wicked, guilty, hell bound and hell deserving sinners…but now…through faith in Christ…we are saved! There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ! This is good news and may we respond to it with an attitude of praise. May we be quick to repent, may we rest in the assurance of sins forgiven and may we love our brothers and sisters with a sacrificial love without grudges or grumps.
“Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.” (1 John 2v9-10)
Q55 What is forbidden in the third commandment? The third commandment forbiddeth all profaning or abusing of anything whereby God maketh himself known.