Daily Thought for: 12th February

JOSEPH (5) 

Genesis 42. 1-43

After his appointment as governor Joseph’s dealings with his brothers are marked by a godly wisdom. Initially, he speaks roughly to them, 42. 7, and yet this is mixed with grace. He is seeking to bring them to repentance concerning their mistreatment of him some 13 years previously. He starts by accusing them of being spies, i.e. those marked by deceit and hypocrisy. On their part they begin to face up to the truth concerning him, ‘. . . and one is not’, 42. 13b. Joseph continues this process by mentioning his fear of God, 42. 18. He reminds them that hanging over them was the sentence of death, 42. 20, and as a result their consciences are expressed openly, ‘And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us’. In verse 21, Reuben remonstrates further with them but shows his own weakness of character, for had he the courage of his convictions he would have been truthful with Jacob concerning Joseph’s plight, 42. 22. 

We have further illumination of Joseph’s character in that he shows his compassion for his brothers as he weeps, 42. 24. This is the first of seven occasions we find him weeping (see also 43. 30; 45. 1; 45. 2, 14; 46. 29; 50. 1, 17). This is so like the Lord Jesus who wept over the havoc sin had caused at the grave of Lazarus, and also because of the rejection of Jerusalem. Constantly, man’s plight burdened His heart. Here, the process of bringing the brothers to repentance was only just beginning. When they go back to Jacob to recount what had happened they are still not ready to own up to the truth concerning Joseph, 42. 32. However, they had tasted of his resources, and through circumstances will be brought to realise their need of more. They remember the words of Joseph, ‘Ye shall not see my face’, 43. 3, neither will the sinner see the face of the Lord unless there is true repentance. Jacob protests that they should not have mentioned Benjamin, 43. 6. Again, if the sinner is to obtain salvation there will need to be full confession. The foolishness of sinners is further demonstrated by their lingering and their desire to pay from their own resources, 43. 10-12. 

 

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