Jan 27 (Daily reading: Genesis 43-45) There are lessons to be learned in the dramatic back and forth between Joseph and his brothers. One lesson is that God can lead people to make changes in their lives. Look at Judah. It was his idea to sell Joseph into slavery in order to make a profit (37:26-27). Yet when Joseph was threatening to keep Benjamin as his slave, it was Judah who offered himself to Joseph as a slave, for fear that the loss of Benjamin would cause the death of their father Jacob. When we repent of past actions and trust God for our present circumstances, God can lead us to become the person He wants us to be.
Another important lesson is that of forgiveness. Joseph forgave his brothers, but he also tested them, to be sure that their repentance was more than just words. It was only when he witnessed Judah’s actions that he knew their words were sincere. It was at that moment that Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and forgave them. He even told them, “it was not you who sent me here, but God” (45:8). The Greek words for grace and forgiveness in the New Testament have the same origin. We are forgiven by God’s grace, and it is also by His grace that we will be able to forgive others. Do not overlook the word “give” that is hidden in the word “forgive.” Be ready to give, or offer, forgiveness even in cases where the offender does not ask for it!