101-142 Genesis Part 3 Chapter 42
Israel seeing that his neighbors were getting food from Egypt he sent ten of his son’s to buy food there. Israel did not send his youngest son Benjamin for fear that harm would come to him. Many are starving today for the spiritual bread that Jesus offers. Having found where help is for our souls we should seek it without delay. Jesus offers a path to life while all other roads lead to death. We all have a hunger in our spirits and only Jesus can satisfy our need. (John 6:35) Joseph was in charge of the distribution of the grain and the sons of Israel came before him and bowed down before him. Unknowingly they had fulfilled the prophecy of Joseph’s dream that they would bow before him.
Some see Joseph’s treatment of his brothers as revengeful towards them for their treatment of him when he was a young boy. This is not the case for several reasons.
First, if Joseph really wanted to cause great duress on his brothers he would have revealed that it was he Joseph their betrayed brother. This certainly would have put an undue amount of fear in their hearts.
Second, his brothers did not recognize Joseph but he recognized them. Joseph remembered the dream that they would someday bow down to him, which now they were doing. This not only showed Joseph that God had made him the leader of the family but also it was now his responsibility to do what was best for them all.
Third, we are told in verse 7 that Joseph’s actions were a disguise that he might interrogate them to learn about his family.
Fourth, several times Joseph had to leave their presence because of his emotions towards them. Joseph loved them, he did not hate them and wept over them out of his concern for them.
Fifth, Joseph’s actions towards his brothers were not vindictive but gracious. Twice he had sent them back to Canaan with the grain they had purchased but had placed their money back in the packs. Even the suffering he did cause his brothers was an act of grace towards them, as its purpose was to bring them to repentance and reconcile them to him.
God sometimes deals with us harshly in an effort to get our attention, to make us aware of wrong actions, and to bring about repentance. The Lord God will discipline his children much like a good father should. (Hebrews 12:6)
Many times the evil we have done in the past make little effect upon our conscience. Yet as we travel on in life the sins of our past will catch up with us and the guilt we harbor in our conscience will conflict our inner peace. Present day afflictions often reveal to us the guilt stored up from our past. Whenever we think wrongs have been committed against us we should not fail to remember the wrongs we have also committed. Reuben alone could take comfort that he had done what he could to prevent the evil against Joseph. When we share in the sufferings of others it will be a good comfort for our conscience if we had not shared in the evil deeds but witnessed against them. Twenty years after their mistreatment of Joseph the events of that day had come back to visit them, as is the function of our conscience to bring to our mind of things long since said and done.
The sons of Israel had come to Egypt to buy corn and corn they now had along with their money returned to them. When they had discovered that their money was in the sacks of grain they had fear come over them. They questioned what had God done to them? Jesus is our supply and freely gives without money or price. But the guilt of our conscience can cause us to receive God’s providence without the light of His truth that God loves us. We fail to see that God is providing good things for us but blame Him for the misfortune in our lives.
Israel we displeased with the report of his sons upon their return from Egypt. The money Joseph had returned to them in the packs of grain even cause fear for Israel. Israel accused his sons of even bringing more trouble upon him. When past behavior of children cause parents to not know how to trust their children it is a very sad thing. Israel clearly did not trust his sons, as the last time he saw Joseph was when he sent him out to his brothers and now Simeon has been held captive while in their care. Israel could not bring it to himself to trust the only other son of Rachael to them as well.
Jacob has given up Joseph for gone, and Simeon and Benjamin as in danger; and concludes, all these things are against him. We so often see the trials and tribulations of life as working against us. So often the difficult times in our lives cause us to become discouraged and we fall into times of depression and fail to focus on our hope. Often we think life is working against us where if we would hold strong in our faith and persevere we would see that these times will also work for good. (Romans 8:28) God as our heavenly Father will train us up as His children that through the tough times in life we will learn to trust Him. When times are not as we would like then to be we should examine ourselves to ensure we are in God’s will and purpose for our lives. (2 Corinthians 13:5) God will bring us to strong humbling convictions and will break the pride of our hearts leading us to true repentance. In times of trial we should not yield to discouragement but seek Him as our refuge in the storm. If we seek Him, trust and obey Him, then He will bless far more than we would expect.