Monday, January 04, 2021

2021.01.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 42:8–38

 Read Genesis 42:8–38

Questions from the Scripture text: Who recognized whom (Genesis 42:8)? Who did not recognize whom? What did Joseph remember (Genesis 42:9)? Of what did he accuse them? What did they call Joseph (Genesis 42:10)? Themselves? Why did they claim to have come? What do they claim proves them honest and not spies (Genesis 42:11)? How does Joseph answer (Genesis 42:12)? What new data do they add in Genesis 42:13 to the claim in verse 11? How does Joseph answer (Genesis 42:14)? By whose life does he speak in Genesis 42:15Genesis 42:16? How does he propose to test them? How many may leave (verse 16)? What will happen to the rest? How long did Joseph put them there (Genesis 42:17, cf. Genesis 40:12–13, Genesis 40:18–19)? What did Joseph claim about himself in Genesis 42:18? How many does he now propose to keep in prison (Genesis 42:19)? What are the rest to do for whom? Whom are they to bring (Genesis 42:20)? Why? What do they now say about themselves in Genesis 42:21? What had they seen? What did they refuse to do? What do they think this has caused? Who answers them in Genesis 42:22? What does he say that he and they had done? What does he say is now happening to them? What didn’t they know (Genesis 42:23)? How does Joseph respond in Genesis 42:24? Whom does he take? What does he do? Before what? What does Joseph command (Genesis 42:25a)? What unexpected additions does he make (verse 25b)? What do they do in Genesis 42:26? To where do they arrive in Genesis 42:27? What does one of them do? What does he see? Whom does he tell (Genesis 42:28)? What happens to their hearts? What do they ask? 

We would be wrong to read Joseph’s actions here in colors of pride or vengeance. If he were acting in pride, he could have rubbed their faces into the dirt—at the moment that their faces were already, literally in the dirt. If he were acting in vengeance, he could have had them executed or tortured, and sent a delegation with food back to his father and brother in Canaan.

But, Joseph acts to preserve not only their lives (Genesis 42:25a, as he does for the Egyptian people) but also their wealth (verse 25b, which he takes away from the Egyptian people!). And he does so in a way that is designed to bring them to repentance, as he gets to hear them say, “We are truly guilty concerning our brother… therefore this distress has come upon us” (Genesis 42:21), and we get to hear them say, “What is this that God has done to us?” (Genesis 42:28).

Indeed, in that latter statement, there is an implied, intuited idea that God acts with purpose and justice in bringing us under judgment—perhaps even the idea that God’s purpose in affliction is sometimes in wisdom to bring us to repentance.

Like Nathan with David (cf. 2 Samuel 12), Joseph here is imitating the wisdom and patience and love of God (cf. e.g., Hosea 5) as he employs his resources to help his brothers come to repentance. And we are right to be impressed by how wisely and well he pulls it off.

But if this one instance of love and wisdom over against pride and vengeance is so impressive, how much more is the love and wisdom and mercy and stooping down of our God unto us, as He brings us unto repentance instead of destroying us!

Well might He have rubbed our noses in the dirt from which we came. Well might He have exercised all of the glory of His being in meting out destruction upon us (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:8–9). But instead, He has become a man and humbled Himself to death on the cross, and works in each of His elect’s life by His providence, Word, and Spirit to bring us to repentance!

We don’t always have authority and position from which to work in the best interests, temporal and spiritual, of those whom we love. But we ought always desire it, always pray for it, and always do what is appropriate for it from the position in which God has placed us. 

Even as we imitate Him who has done so almightily, all-mercifully, all-wisely for us!

Whom do you know who needs to repent and believe? What place and opportunity has God given you to help them? What else can you do, and must you do, for them?

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH341 “Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed”

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