Joseph’s dream becomes a reality some 20 years in the making:
So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. Genesis 42:6
To disguise himself, Joseph uses an interpreter to employ his scheme to hold his brothers and teach them a lesson. Deep inside it seems Joseph’s longing for his family never faded. Twenty years of living through incredible highs and lows, yet still he has a heart for those who despised him. Amazing.
Reuben’s told you so response is humorous, “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy? But you wouldn’t listen!” (42:22). There is much debate at the camp when the brothers return (less Simeon). Jacob doesn’t want to lose Benjamin, even though Reuben assures him of safety. Judah adds his name to the list of those who will ensure Benjamin’s safety and Jacob relents and sends them all on their way with twice the silver and other gifts.
Joseph prepare a banquet to receive his brothers, but the story is not over yet. They enjoy the food and are released the next day with provisions and a surprise: a silver cup is hidden in Benjamin’s sack. The penalty is set: Benjamin is to become a slave, but Judah’s plea breaks Joseph’s heart (next chapter).
One of the greatest stories in the Old Testament, replayed in many ways. There is much to learn from the entire story, but what lesson should I take from this today? Judah’s sincere commitment to his father gets my attention. Judah was the one who devised the plan to sell Joseph (Genesis 37:26) and it was his plea to Jacob to take Benjamin to Egypt as required. In reading the narrative, it may be true that Judah has the most to lose from amongst the brothers. Though he’s not the oldest, he left them and built his own family (Genesis 38). Yet he is willing to become Pharaoh’s slave for the sake of his brother, perhaps for the sake of his brothers. Perhaps there is deep regret for his original plan to sell Joseph. Now he is put to the test and he does not disappoint. We don’t hear his prayers of confession, nor his admission of guilt in the first offense. It’s hard to say if Judah (and his brothers) ever mentioned the fact that they conspired against Joseph–perhaps that is the point.
Christ forgives our sins. He doesn’t lay them on the table and require that we recant them one by one, he simply forgives them all. We are released from the past.
Let go of the guilt and lay it all before Jesus. He completely forgives all.