In today’s story of Joseph and his brothers, we see three different responses to a payment of money being “left” in a sack of grain.
First, Joseph’s brothers, returning from buying grain from Joseph (although they did not at the time know it was Joseph), discover the money that was to be a payment for the grain in their sacks of purchased grain. Their response: “What has God done to us?” (42.28)
Second, as they prepare to return to Egypt to purchase more grain, the brothers’ father, Jacob, reminds them to include money for a new payment, but also the old payment for: “it probably was someone’s mistake.” (43.12)
Finally, worried they were going to be imprisoned for stealing the money, the brothers immediately tell Joseph’s household manager of their plight upon their return to Joseph’s house. “Relax,” the steward replies: “Your God, the God of your father, must have put this treasure into your sacks.”
So, here’s my question: Which one of these reactions would you consider most accurate? Is God punishing the brothers? Was it all just an honest mistake, soon to be corrected by the return of the money? Is God blessing the brothers, even as they view it as a disastrous curse? Is it “D,” all of the above?
Does it surprise us that a steward of Joseph’s house understands the blessing of God? One can take a clue from the life of Joseph and his willingness to continue to have faith in God, even in the midst of his circumstances. Joseph is held out as a faithful hero in the midst of this story, so his life would certainly be an influence on others, such as those who worked in his house.
I think there is also a sense in which throughout the entire Joseph story, not only is God at work, but the twists and turns of irony surprise us. Who else BUT a servant of Joseph to remind not only the brothers, but also the readers: God is faithful and provides blessings for his people … even when they least expect it or have done anything to deserve it?
As you go through today and something happens to you or around you, ask yourself not just “Why did this happen,” but also: Where is God at work in this situation? Is his hand in this and am I just overlooking his blessing?
How would you have liked to have been Joseph, watching the scene with his brothers unfold, seeing their reaction, and knowing everything they were saying? How do you think you would have handled this situation if you were in Joseph’s place?
We are told that Jesus did only a few miracles in his hometown of Nazareth because of the unbelief of the people. Why do you think their unbelief caused him to do so little here?
Rewrite Psalm 18 in your own words, expressing the things God has done for you as well as the life you have lived before God.
Who do you listen to for advice on how to live a good life? How helpful do you find their advice? Are there others who might be a better source of advice in your life? How can you listen to them more?