Jacob was surprised to see his sons return from Egypt with carts and new clothes.
The eleven men formed a semi-circle in front of their father.
Benjamin rushed forward and embraced his dad. “He’s alive, Abba, he’s alive!”
Jacob steadied himself against Benjamin. “Yes, I see Simeon made it back with you. I expected as much. That’s good…”
“That’s not who he’s taking about.” Judah interrupted.
Jacob searched each pair of blank eyes waiting for an explanation. He stopped at Reuben. “Who are you talking about? You’re all here, now.”
Reuben swallowed hard. “The man we’ve been dealing with in Egypt is non other than your son, Joseph.”
“But…how can that be? Joseph is dead. I buried his cloak myself. It was covered in his blood…are you now telling me that wasn’t his blood on his cloak?”
Judah looked at Jacob’s feet. “It was goat blood. We sold him to some traders heading west for…twenty pieces of silver.”
Jacob sat on a stone. “Twenty pieces of silver…why?”
Issachar shuffled his feet. “He was a slave, then, a prisoner for many years.”
Levi raised a hand. “Until Pharaoh had some dreams. Joseph interpreted those dreams. That’s why Egypt now has so much grain to sell during this famine.”
Gad cleared his throat. “Joseph’s own dreams are coming true, too. We all bowed at his feet in reverence to him.”
Jacob sat forward. “Are you sure it’s Joseph?”
Benjamin sat next to his dad. “He served us a banquet, before we knew who he was, he seated us according to birth order. Nobody in Egypt would have known that.”
Zebulun stepped forward. “That’s why he kept asking if our father was still alive, and why he insisted we bring Benjamin back with us this last time.”
Asher waved a hand toward the carts and supplies. “Joseph says there’ll be many more years of famine. He gave us these carts so we can bring our families to Egypt to live there until this passes.”
Israel stood to his feet. “Praise God Almighty, I shall go to the grave in peace. My eyes will see my son, Joseph, before I die.”
Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve had to reveal a lie that you’ve kept alive for many years? That’s what the deceiver Jacob’s kids had to do in this instance.
They had to learn the hard lesson: no matter how many times you tell a lie it still doesn’t make it the truth.
I think they believed that their spoiled-rotten little brother, Joseph, wasn’t strong enough to survive whatever he had to face in Egypt, or wherever he ended up. They shared this lie so long they totally believed it themselves.
They had indeed learned well from their father, Jacob, and their grandfather, Laban. Deception was a dominant gene in their pool.
Why do I feel such a kinship to these men?
When you think about it we all wear certain masks in different situations. We get dressed up on Sunday morning so we fit into character with the person we show those we come in contact with.
When they ask how we’re doing we reply with a smile and the word “fine.” Even when we’re torn to shreds inside from family strife or work stress.
We’re so embarrassed by our shortcomings that we hide rather than let others know we need help. They won’t help if they don’t know we need it. Many of them would love to come along side you and help you bear this burden, or, perhaps, even do something to help fix it.
I know, sometimes we should keep certain secrets hidden, but, far fewer than we think we do. Toss your pride aside and confide in a soul mate. I’m not talking about your marriage partner, per se. Fellow Christian believers are also soul mates by the bond of a shared Savior, Jesus Christ.
God’s Holy Spirit can work in miraculous ways when spiritual siblings come together in prayer and commitment. Take a chance and take off your mask.
Accountability groups are an important option to set up in your life. It’s best if men meet with men and women are off in their own groups because many of the issues faced by each sex are unique problem areas that need to be focused on separately.
These shouldn’t become complaint sessions where all you do is air your grievances. Bible study and prayer with focused attention on areas of struggle are what need to be handled during these times. The goal needs to be helping each other become more like Christ.
I’m sure Jacob’s ten sons wondered what amount of retribution they’d receive from their father. They’d broken his heart for so many years I’m sure they expected justice and hoped for mercy. What they got was pure grace.
What’s the difference? When you know you’ve committed a wrong justice gives you what you deserve, mercy gives you less than you deserve, grace gives you what you don’t deserve.
These men probably expected Jacob to disown them and give all the family inheritance to Benjamin, the only son not in this deception. At best they’d get a portion of the inheritance with Benjamin receiving the lion’s share.
The aged Jacob again becomes Israel and looks at what God has done in his own life. He deserved to be cast aside and disowned many times. Justice would never change the years that were gone. Mercy couldn’t replace the hole that occupied his heart those many years, either.
Israel’s mind had only one focal point at this time in his life. His son, Joseph, was still alive and he’d see him soon. This was no time for punishment, but celebration.
My son who was dead is now alive!
Remind you of any parables?
Yeah, that’s how God looks at us. As much as we deserve Hell He came and gave His life for us just so we can spend eternity with Him.
That’s what I call amazing Grace.
I’ll see you later. Wade