A Moment of Mercy
Joseph receives his Brothers on their Second Visit to Egypt
By Francesco Bacchiacca
A Vision Fulfilled
Just as Pharaoh’s dream (as interpreted by Joseph) predicted, famine struck Egypt and the entire region. Egypt was prepared, having followed Joseph’s leadership and stored plenty of grain ahead of time. Canaan, however, was not ready for the seven years of famine.
Israel’s sons (all except beloved young Benjamin) journeyed to Egypt, hoping to purchase foodstuffs for survival.
Of course, the brothers had no idea that their long-lost brother would hold their destiny in his hands.
Perhaps Joseph still carried a bit of bitterness for his brothers’ ill treatment. Possibly, his position of power tempted him to toy with their hearts. Maybe Joseph simply wanted to determine whether his brothers’ hearts had changed over the years. Whatever his motive, Joseph played a bit of cat-and-mouse intrigue with his unwitting siblings.
In the end, however, Joseph forgave his brothers and was reconciled to them.
A Glimpse of Grace
At the moment when Joseph was reunited with his brothers, embracing them with mercy, we gain a glimpse of God’s grace in action. Outside of the power of God’s love, would such a blessing even be possible?
Joseph could have had his brothers imprisoned for life, or possibly even put to death for their apparent crimes. Had he done so, ten of the twelve tribes of Israel would never have been. Judah’s family line (which would later lead to Jesus, Yeshua, the Lion of Judah [see Revelation 5:5], the Messiah) would have ended right there.
Although Joseph likely did not have this inside information at the time, God certainly knew.
The Price of Spite
This picture of grace sets a high standard for forgiveness. What a tall order. Still, God has set the bar for mercy even higher.
“But God showed his great love for us
by sending Christ to die for us
while we were still sinners.”
God loves you. God loves me. Nothing we can do or say can change that. God simply loves.
What must we do in response? All He asks is that we trust Him. We simply have to bow to Him and accept the forgiveness He has already purchased with His own Son’s suffering on our behalf. Jesus paid for everything.
The Load Lifter
Just imagine you have a heavy bag of stones to carry, with a 100-mile hike ahead of you. (Let’s call the stones “sin.”) Suppose someone approaches you and offers to carry your burden for you. Your back is breaking from the load, and you will never make it on your own.
Will you accept or refuse?
Paying the Price
Let’s pretend you are struggling to feed your family, but you do not have enough cash to pay the grocery bill. You approach the supermarket checkout line with a cart full of everything you need. The cashier rings up your order and cites the total. You reach into your wallet and discover it is empty. Suddenly, a man appears next to you and produces enough funds to cover your charges.
Did you contribute to the cost at all? No.
Must you work off the bill? No.
Did you do anything to deserve the assistance? No.
Are you grateful? You bet.
“For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith –
and this not from yourselves;
it is the gift of God –
not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Will you pray with me?
God of love,
How grateful we are for Your mercy.
We can do nothing to deserve it.
Still, You offer Your love and grace.
All You ask is that we come.
We confess that we have fallen.
We have strayed.
We have grieved You.
We are sorry.
Thank You for paying the price
Make us new.
We long to be Yours
Teach us to love You
More every day.
For You are love.
Make us gracious
For You are mercy.