Saturday, 18 January 2014

(19) January 19: Genesis 44-45 and Matthew 14v1-21

Ask God to open your mind, heart and will to understand, delight in and obey what you read.

To discover:­­
As you read note the different ways God’s blessing is displayed.

To ponder:
Joseph’s “game” continues, and with it similar themes. A cup is hidden in Benjamin’s sack so that he may be charged with evil. This time, confident of their innocence, the brothers together make a rash promise – death for the perpetrator and slavery for the rest.
            Because they know they are innocent, verse 16 suggests they see God as uncovering their guilt for how they treated Joseph. Without his grace, we can all be sure he will call our sin to account.
            But how different the brothers now are. Their grief over the implications for Benjamin mirrors the grief of Jacob’s love when losing Joseph (44v13, 37v24). They now care. And Judah displayed no concern for his father (or his beloved son) when Joseph was sold. But now he pleads with Joseph for his father’s sake. It culminates in offering himself as a substitute for his brother. More than that, he offers himself to redeem his brother from the slavery due him for stealing the cup. The nobility of acting like Christ is to sacrifice ourselves for the good of others in just this way.
            Seeing how his brothers have changed, Joseph cannot contain his emotion (45v2). He reveals himself and the purpose of the wrong done him: Again and again he stresses “God sent me” (45v5, 7, 8, 9). The repetition makes the main point clear. God did it to save lives, and particularly those of Jacob’s family – ie. Israel (v7). Because of this Joseph is able to display the most astonishing forgiveness, embracing his brothers with tears, and Benjamin with no hint of envy (45v14-15). He even urges his brothers not to be distressed or angry with themselves (45v5). Perhaps understanding God has purpose when others treat us badly may help us forgive.
            The result of all this is of course God’s blessing. Joseph will provide for the family during the famine. Pharoah even promises them the best of the land, granting them carts, supplies and money. One can’t help think of how Pharoah gave Abraham wealth when he left Egypt, and how the Egyptians would provide for Israel as she left too. Again, God is able to deliver his people no matter how severe their predicament. He can move the greatest of Kings to act kindly towards them. And through Christ, they will even inherit the earth.
Praying it home:
Think of good God has brought from suffering in your life. Thank him for it. Pray that in the light of this you will be able to forgive those who have wronged you.

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