Friday, February 18, 2011

Joseph Tests His Brothers

We've recently been in the Joseph stories from the end of Genesis. Joseph "tested" his brothers. I never quite understood what that meant. What did he want from them -- to prove they were finally being honest? Or what?

Pastor pointed out something in chapel that I'd never considered. Joseph did not know what had happened to the family in his absence. We know the story because we've read the end of the book. But Joseph didn't know. Last he knew, his brothers wanted him dead and consented to "merely" sell him into slavery.

When they show up in Egypt and bow before the prince, Joseph asks them about their father and if they have any more brothers. They told him. They told him the truth. But he didn't know whether it was true. He didn't know whether they'd killed Benjamin. (After all, killing Benjamin would be a reasonable next step for them as they eliminated Dad's favorites.)

And so Joseph learns eventually that, yes, they are telling the truth, and yes, they show no jealousy when Benjamin gets treated better than the rest of them, and YES, they do what they can (Judah even offering himself in Benjamin's place) so ensure that Benjamin might be free and go back to his father.

Pastor also pointed out that, as the story progressed, the brothers came to realize that they were very exposed. It was like they had no secrets from this prince. It was like God had found them out and was showing them their sin. When they realized they could not hide anything, they were broken and contrite. And that's what Joseph desired, so that he might shower love and mercy on them and not have it be rejected.

No comments:

Post a Comment