I was reading in Genesis 42 where the ten sons of Jacob travel to Egypt to buy grain from Pharaoh. We as readers know that the brothers are about to encounter Joseph, but they obviously do not know it. Joseph is harsh with them, but I will admit that he is purposefully harsh because he wants to see his younger brother Benjamin and wants to see his father again. So Joseph tells them to go back and get Benjamin and return, if they don’t then Simeon would stay in prison and they wouldn’t be able to get more food. However, it’s what keeps coming up in the passage that I find interesting…
The circumstances of buying grain in Egypt have confused the brothers, and it has become harder than they thought it was going to be. As the narrative twists and turns, the brothers keep coming back to one thing: God is punishing us! Yes, God in his power and holiness was trying to discipline the brothers for what they had done to Joseph…really? Is that true? Or could it be that the dreams given by God have come true and the brothers still don’t believe them, get them, or recognize them? Could it be that what they are facing is not the retribution of God, but the consequences of not following God and turning to their own way of taking care of things?
They knew Joseph wasn’t dead, they sold him. While they had no idea where he would go or what he would do, did they still pay no heed to the dreams and did they still operate out of loathing and jealousy? It seems like it, does it not? What the brothers received from Joseph was actually kind compared to what he could have done given his power. What they saw as God’s punishment was actually the brothers coming face-to-face with the way they rebelled in the past, it was the consequences of their choices that stood in front of them.
So often we hear a person blaming God for punishing them. Maybe a person won’t come to church because the walls might cave in. Maybe a person can’t be around a certain individual or even a group. When we are in the narrative, we see it as God getting back at us, but if we take a step back and remove ourselves from the unfolding drama of life; perhaps we can see it as a confrontation of our past choices. You see the Bible believes in consequences, and they are not to be avoided, but faced. Once faced the story can proceed… and you might recall that Joseph loves his brothers and is reconnected with his entire family. So God actually saved Joseph’s brothers, just like God said would happen so long ago.
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.