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Gen. 43:1-34 - Banquet of Grace - Part 3
Gen. 43:16-28 - “When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my house, slaughter an animal and prepare a meal; they are to eat with me at noon.”
The man did as Joseph told him and took the men to Joseph’s house. Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.”
So they went up to Joseph’s steward and spoke to him at the entrance to the house. “We beg your pardon, our lord,” they said, “We came down here the first time to buy food. But at the place where we stopped for the night, we opened our sacks and each of us found his silver— the exact weight—in the mouth of his sack. So we have brought it back with us. We have also brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in our sacks.”
“It’s all right,” he said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.
The steward took the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet, and provided fodder for their donkeys. They prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon because they had heard that they were to eat there.
When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground. He asked them how they were, and then he said, “How is your aged father you told me about? Is he still living?’
They replied, ‘Your servant our father is still alive and well.’ And they bowed down, prostrating themselves before him.”
They bowed down and prostrated themselves before him!!! Remember Joseph’s original dream back in Gen. 37? The dream that started his whole mess? Gen. 37:6-7, 9-11 - “Listen to this dream I had. We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it... I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me. When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually bow down to the ground before you?”
Well, as a matter of fact, Jacob, that’s exactly what’s gonna go down!! Anyway, when Joseph looked out and saw Benjamin with his older brothers, he set a plan in motion.
By now all the brothers were really beside themselves with fear. What was going on? See how their own guilt magnified their anxiety. We talked about that last week, right?
Unresolved guilt ALWAYS magnifies anxiety! ‘It must be about the money,’ they thought. So they began stumbling over themselves trying to explain to the servant about the money they found in their sacks. If you are feeling guilty over some wrong you’ve done, everything that happens begins to play into that, causing apprehension and suspicion... ‘They’re going to find out!’
Notice what the brother’s feared: ‘He may seek occasion against us and fall upon us, and take us for slaves.’ They had sold their own brother into slavery, and now that was what they feared themselves!!!!!!!
Paralyzed by guilt, they feared the worst, when Joseph, dominated by grace, was planning for the best!
Guilt certainly causes us to say some pretty strange things at strange times, does it not!? Guilt always does a number on us, and it certainly did on Joseph’s brothers. I think this is what was happening when they were pouring out their confession about the money to the steward.
But I love the steward's response here: “Be at ease,” he told them. The Hebrew here is “Shalom!”
The steward, who knew their language, used their word for peace. He was saying: “Hey, Shalom guys, be at peace, calm down man, there’s no reason to be afraid.”
And then, this Egyptian even witnessed to them about their God, right!! “Your own God is the one who put the treasure in your sacks. No one thinks you stole it. I know what happened, I was the one that put it there. I was the one who had your money. It was a treasure from Elohim, the God of your father.”
What I find interesting here is that this Egyptian steward understood some pretty sound theology! I want us to catch this! No doubt it was the result of Joseph’s influence and witnessing to this guy through the years!
The brothers had never thought to relate the return of the money to the abundant grace of God. Why? Because the GUILT had kept them from seeing God’s hand in the grace of their lives. (It always does!)
Yet the unmerited favor of God had come in abundance to them: grain in abundance, money in abundance. And now their brother, Simeon is restored to them, healthy and whole. This is Mercy in abundance here!
This whole situation had to be strange to the brothers though, right?! They had come bearing money and gifts, hoping to bribe the goodwill of the Egyptian prime minister. More importantly, they had brought Benjamin as the man had requested. And, Instead of being asked about any of this, they had been taken to the prime minister’s home for a feast where they were allowed to refresh themselves, learn a little theology from an Egyptian steward, and then be reunited with Simeon!
Now, enter the Prime Minister. The brothers hurried to present their gifts to him. But he was neither angry nor harsh with them. He wasn’t angry or demanding to see Benjamin. As a matter of fact, he seemed overjoyed to see all of them again. He immediately asked about their father: “Was the old man still alive? Was he well?”
“Yeah, he’s still alive, he’s over a hundred now and is still in pretty good health.”
But despite the official’s good humor, sincere interest, and kind words, the brothers were still paranoid and didn’t know what to expect from this powerful man.
Join us next week as we get into the most awesome part of this text! Blessings to you all.