LastCall: (Genesis 43:26-44:17 ) Pain Before Healing -Bob Caldwell

Pain Before Healing

  “Then Judah said, ‘What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how shall we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants; here we are, my lord’s slaves, both we and he also with whom the cup was found.’” -Genesis 44:16

Joseph obviously believed that hiding his true identity provided a way for his brothers to search their hearts and face the things they had done for which God sought to bring them into accountability (44:16). It seems clear that Joseph’s actions were not motivated by revenge. In fact, this process was extremely painful, resulting in him breaking down and weeping more than once (42:24, 43:30).

There is never a pain free pathway to resolving the wrongs we have committed toward one another. For those who have been wronged, like Joseph, they will need the courage and love to allow the wounds to be exposed – for the pain to resurface if there will ever be genuine reconciliation for those who have been the cause of hurt and wrongdoing. It will require honesty from their hearts to fully face what they have done if they have been the cause of hurt in having wronged another person.

There is really no way around this. God requires it. Relationships built on confession of sin coupled with complete forgiveness will bring genuine healing in the most difficult and painful relationships. Joseph knows this. And he’s committed to go through this process because the end result is worth it. A restored family, and a deeper understanding of how God can bring good things out of the most painful events of life.

Genesis 43:26-44:17

 26 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed down before him to the earth. 27 Then he asked them about their well-being, and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?”

28 And they answered, “Your servant our father is in good health; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads down and prostrated themselves.

29 Then he lifted his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your younger brother of whom you spoke to me?” And he said, “God be gracious to you, my son.” 30 Now his heart yearned for his brother; so Joseph made haste and sought somewhere to weep. And he went into his chamber and wept there. 31 Then he washed his face and came out; and he restrained himself, and said, “Serve the bread.”

32 So they set him a place by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves; because the Egyptians could not eat food with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. 33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth; and the men looked in astonishment at one another. 34 Then he took servings to them from before him, but Benjamin’s serving was five times as much as any of theirs. So they drank and were merry with him.

v. 29 Mother’s Son – This refers to Rachel, who bore Joseph and then Benjamin on her deathbed.

v. 30 To Weep – Joseph struggles in restraining his emotions. He, however, feels the time is not yet right to reveal his true identity.

v. 32 An Abomination – The Egyptian religious beliefs were such that they believed they were a purer people than other races and would be defiled by foreigners. Even among their people there was a strict caste system. The Greeks would later write that Egyptians would not even use a dish or knife of Grecians or eat the meat of an animal cut with a Grecian knife.

v. 33 Look Astonished – Joseph had the brothers seated in the order of their birth, which would have seemed an amazing accident or as divine intervention by Joseph’s brothers.

v. 34 Five Times – It was customary to give larger portions to distinguished guests. Most likely Joseph did this to see whether his brothers had changed in how they would respond to the youngest brother being shown favoritism as compared to their wicked treatment of Joseph years earlier.

Genesis 44

Joseph’s Cup

1 And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, “Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put each man’s money in the mouth of his sack. 2 Also put my cup, the silver cup, in the mouth of the sack of the youngest, and his grain money.” So he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken. 3 As soon as the morning dawned, the men were sent away, they and their donkeys. 4 When they had gone out of the city, and were not yet far off, Joseph said to his steward, “Get up, follow the men; and when you overtake them, say to them, ‘Why have you repaid evil for good? 5 Is not this the one from which my lord drinks, and with which he indeed practices divination? You have done evil in so doing.’”

6 So he overtook them, and he spoke to them these same words. 7 And they said to him, “Why does my lord say these words? Far be it from us that your servants should do such a thing. 8 Look, we brought back to you from the land of Canaan the money which we found in the mouth of our sacks. How then could we steal silver or gold from your lord’s house? 9 With whomever of your servants it is found, let him die, and we also will be my lord’s slaves.”

10 And he said, “Now also let it be according to your words; he with whom it is found shall be my slave, and you shall be blameless.” 11 Then each man speedily let down his sack to the ground, and each opened his sack. 12 So he searched. He began with the oldest and left off with the youngest; and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack. 13 Then they tore their clothes, and each man loaded his donkey and returned to the city.

14 So Judah and his brothers came to Joseph’s house, and he was still there; and they fell before him on the ground.

15 And Joseph said to them, “What deed is this you have done? Did you not know that such a man as I can certainly practice divination?”

16 Then Judah said, “What shall we say to my lord? What shall we speak? Or how shall we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants; here we are, my lord’s slaves, both we and he also with whom the cup was found.”

17 But he said, “Far be it from me that I should do so; the man in whose hand the cup was found, he shall be my slave. And as for you, go up in peace to your father.”

Chapter 44

The Arrest Of Benjamin (Verses 1-17)

v. 1 Commanded the Steward – Joseph had already created the situation and tension that had now set up this final test to see if his brothers had truly changed or if they would betray Benjamin for their own gain, as they had done to Joseph nearly 22 years earlier.

v. 5 Practices Divination – The word for divination in Hebrew is “nachash,” and is defined as being able to give oracles and foretell. It also refers to the practice of sorcery. Divining was done at times by attaching meaning to the movements of liquids in a cup, or the casting of certain images upon the liquid when shone upon by light. Another method was to put a precious metal or jewel in a cup and base predictions on the appearance of the reflected light from the metal or jewel. This method of determining the future along with astrology will later be clearly condemned in scripture (2 Kings 17:7, 21:6; 2 Chron. 33:6; Deut. 18:10). Since there is no indication that Joseph ever blended his faith in God with the pagan practices of divination or astrology, it seems he was simply acting out the expected role of an Egyptian.

v. 8 How Then – These brothers plead for innocence in light of how they had returned the money left in their sacks from the first trip.

v. 10 Shall Be My Slave – The steward reduces the penalty from the suggestion of death (v. 9) to slavery.

v. 13 Tore His Clothes – This was a culturally recognized act of sorrow. They passed this first part of the test by returning with Benjamin, rather than turning Benjamin over and going on their way.

v. 16 God Has Found Out – Judah, who had 22 years earlier suggested Joseph be sold as a slave, now speaks up believing that God is using this situation to cause the brothers to face the sins of their past.

v. 17 As For You, Go – Joseph is testing the moral character of Judah and the other brothers. Will they seek to protect their father from any further pain or take Joseph up on this offer and leave Benjamin behind?

Devotions with Emotion

Michael James Stone

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