When Joseph made the journey from Canaan to Egypt, his brothers had no care
for him. They stripped him of all he had, and sent him off in the hands of
strangers as a slave. Joseph excessively provided for his brothers. He had their bags filled with grain, so upon their return, the family would be taken care of. He quietly returned their money and gave them supplies for their journey. This was an act of mercy, a revelation of Joseph’s soft loving heart, in contrast to the harsh demeanor he adopted to disguise himself. In this giving, Joseph demonstrated the love of God that he experienced during his trial
When one of the brothers discovered the silver in his sack, they did not
consider it a blessing or an act of mercy. They were not sure what to make of it, but they were sure it was bad. Perhaps they believed the Egyptian ruler
(Joseph) would accuse them of theivery. It pierced their already guilty consciences and they believed they were being punished. Joseph’s brothers had done nothing to deserve such a blessing, so they feared it.
The brothers explained what happened to Joseph, even reiterating their
claim of being honest men and how they said Joseph was dead. The brothers are still able to live their lie to Jacob.
When they poured out their sacks, they saw all their silver had been returned, and their fear multiplied. Even Jacob was afraid, and assumed their was some ill doing on their parts, since they did not mention the silver in their story. The long supressed suspicions and resentment of Jacob were released. He blamed his sons for the loss of Joseph and Simeon, and would not trust them with Benjamin. Jacob wrote off Simeon as “no more”. He lamented and mourned his cirucmstance. He pitied himself. He did not appeal to God.
Reuben heard his father’s words, and knew they were true. He was responsible for Joseph, and for Simon, as the oldest of the brothers. Witness how Jacob’s favortism still shaped the family: Reuben offered the lives of his own two sons if he did not return with Benjamin. A foolish offer, whether literal or not, to appease his father. Reuben suggested Benajmin’s life was worth the lives of two of his own sons, because of how Jacob favored Benjamin.
Jacob declined to let Benjamin go. He expressed his partiality freely in that he valued Benjamin because he was the only son he believed he had left of Rachel.
We should give freely to those in need, even those who have treated us poorly, as it is the law of Christ. Even in the midst of discipline, our God grants us mercy, and so should we be merciful to those going through trial. Christians need to show the love of God to those in difficult circumstance, so they may come to know him. We should welcome blessings from God, but our guilt may halt us from doing so. God’s judgment should be feared, but as Joseph gave his underserving brothers care, God gave us undeserving sinners grace through Christ. Tribulation is quick to unearth old resentments and negative emotions. May our trials force us to release the burdens and pains on our hearts, that we may forgive and be set free as God desires for us. We must not neglect to consult the Lord in our trials, and seek his guidance. The impossible task of pleasing people leads to foolish barters and shameless pandering. It is better to seek to please God.