By Norman P. Grubb
Jacob was God’s special man, of whom Israel was named, a prince with God, but was always one who more easily saw the negative than the positive. He tended to see darkness. Yet God used that to bring something out which was a key to the situation. He said, “I can’t let Benjamin go. I’ve already lost one son and I can’t have him take my other son and lose him. I can’t do it.” He refused it.
Now there began to be this further move of repentance. God had to get a positive response of repentance – “works meet for repentance” Acts 26:20 – from the brethren before they’d be fit to move into reconciliation again. The first step we’ve seen already – the guilt. The second step was this: they began to feel their responsibility for Benjamin…which they had never felt for Joseph…and began to show that they were involved in this thing. It wasn’t a total step, but Reuben, being the eldest, said, “If he doesn’t come back, slay my two sons.” That wouldn’t help very much. It wasn’t “slay myself.” You see, repentance is…“Don’t slay the other fellow, slay me.” He hadn’t gotten that far. “If we take Benjamin and he doesn’t come back, let my sons be the price paid.” Not a very effective substitute, but a step in the right direction. Jacob wouldn’t take that.
Finally, they had to go, because they were starving! Once again, God’s pressure was on them…they had to go. When Jacob said they must go, they said, “We can’t go without Benjamin.” Then Judah came forward. Now, Judah was the one who sold Joseph into slavery, and Judah said, “My father, I’m in his place. If he doesn’t come back, if something happens to him, I’ll take what happens to Benjamin on myself.” This was what he meant: What should happen to Benjamin, I’ll take on myself. He proved this a little later on. He said to Jacob, “I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame forever.” He couldn’t, at that moment, quite define how he’d do it, but he did mean, “I’ll step in Benjamin’s place. If something has to happen to Benjamin, I choose that it happens to me instead.” That was right, when he had been the very one who’d put Joseph into slavery. On that basis, Jacob consented and they went.
Now, once again, Joseph was watching to see how there could be the reunion. It didn’t feel he had got quite far enough yet, and he hadn’t heard what Judah said. So they came back, brought the money which he had restored to their sacks and the fresh money for more corn, and wondered what they’d get. When Joseph saw them coming, he gave orders to his head of his house to welcome them into his own home. Everything was to make them feel at home. This strange man who should be beating them up and shouting or hanging them was making friends with them. Yet he called them spies! What’s up? Put their money back! What’s up? Normally they wouldn’t have contact with the ruler of the country, and here they are in his own home. So immediately they go to the steward, “We want you to know it wasn’t our fault. Please understand. We came to the inn and, behold, every man’s money was in the mouth of his sack and we have brought it again in our hand.
What can we do?” The steward said, “Peace be to you, fear not. Your God and the God of your father hath given you treasure in your sacks.” Remarkable words from the steward. See how the Egyptians were beginning to find the living God…how Joseph’s testimony was rubbing off? So he brought Simeon out to them and gave them water to wash their feet. Then they heard they were to eat bread there! Well, that topped it all…to eat bread in fellowship with this ruler of Egypt.
Joseph came, asked after the father, and then he saw his brother. That was too much for him. He had to go away and hide and weep, for the final moment had not yet come. “For his bowels did yearn upon his brother; and he sought where to weep and he entered into his chamber and wept there”. (43:30)
You are receiving this email because you signed up at http://www.normangrubb.com
By Norman P. Grubb