Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Feb 6 2019 - Genesis 44:1-34 – Joseph tests his brothers

Joseph sent the brothers away with their sacks full of grain, their money in each of their sacks and one of his special silver cups in Benjamin's sack.

The men had not gone far before the steward came racing after them accusing them of stealing a silver cup from Joseph. They all protest their innocence saying that if the cup is found with any of them, that person should die and the rest of them will become servants to the Egyptian lord. A search soon discovers the cup in Benjamin's sack. The brothers are distraught and tear their clothes. All now return to plead with the Egyptian official.

Judah took it upon himself to be their spokesman. He was the one who had sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites and he is now convinced that all that is now happening is punishment from God because of what he and his brothers did to Joseph (see 44:16). He knows how the loss of Joseph affected father Jacob; the loss also of Benjamin would be more than he could bear. So Judah, who had failed to listen to the pleas of Joseph when he sold him into slavery, pleads that Benjamin should be spared from becoming a slave in Egypt. Judah offers himself in Benjamin's place.

There are times when circumstances remind us of wrongs we have done in the past of which we are ashamed. Such reminders are helpful if they humble us and bring us to fresh repentance before God, seeking his forgiveness.

Judah offered himself in place of Benjamin who, it seemed, had defrauded Joseph of his sacred cup. There is no doubt about our sins. We have defrauded God of the glory due to him and have stolen that glory for ourselves. Our sins, if they were listed, would be almost beyond counting. But Judah's offspring, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, offered himself in our place. He suffered the penalty that our sins deserved so that we might be set free. So every memory of our sins needs to drive us not only to repentance but also and supremely to our triumphant Saviour whose risen power frees us from slavery to sin and death. We need to run to him with our thanksgiving and praise.

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea;
A great High Priest, whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me...

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see him there
Who made an end of all my sin.

Because the sinless Saviour died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the just, is satisfied
To look on him and pardon me...

One with himself, I cannot die;
My soul is purchased by his blood;
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Saviour and my God.

Gracious Father, thank you that when you remind me of the guilt of my sins, you also show me afresh the wonder of your salvation. Thank you that the Lion of the tribe of Judah is also the Lamb who was slain for us that all our guilt and shame might be washed away and that we might be brought rejoicing to our Father's house.

Peter Misselbrook