Joseph’s brothers had come to Egypt to purchase grain not realizing Joseph was the one who they were purchasing it from. As you read the story think how you would react in Joseph’s place? Also think about how Jesus would respond. Would you be merciful or filled with bitterness and revenge? Let’s see what Joseph did.
14 But Joseph insisted, “As I said, you are spies! 15 This is how I will test your story. I swear by the life of Pharaoh that you will never leave Egypt unless your youngest brother comes here! 16 One of you must go and get your brother. I’ll keep the rest of you here in prison. Then we’ll find out whether or not your story is true. By the life of Pharaoh, if it turns out that you don’t have a younger brother, then I’ll know you are spies.”
17 So Joseph put them all in prison for three days. 18 On the third day Joseph said to them, “I am a God-fearing man. If you do as I say, you will live. 19 If you really are honest men, choose one of your brothers to remain in prison. The rest of you may go home with grain for your starving families. 20 But you must bring your youngest brother back to me. This will prove that you are telling the truth, and you will not die.” To this they agreed.
21 Speaking among themselves, they said, “Clearly we are being punished because of what we did to Joseph long ago. We saw his anguish when he pleaded for his life, but we wouldn’t listen. That’s why we’re in this trouble.” 22 “Didn’t I tell you not to sin against the boy?” Reuben asked. “But you wouldn’t listen. And now we have to answer for his blood!”
23 Of course, they didn’t know that Joseph understood them, for he had been speaking to them through an interpreter. 24 Now he turned away from them and began to weep. When he regained his composure, he spoke to them again. Then he chose Simeon from among them and had him tied up right before their eyes. 25 Joseph then ordered his servants to fill the men’s sacks with grain, but he also gave secret instructions to return each brother’s payment at the top of his sack. He also gave them supplies for their journey home. 26 So the brothers loaded their donkeys with the grain and headed for home.
As Jesus hung on the cross his first words were, “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing. Luke 23:34. Jesus had free will and chose for all of our sins to be poured out upon Himself. By doing so, He extended mercy to us that is beyond our comprehension. Joseph’s brothers were going through a time of testing and did not realize the mercy they were going to receive.
Who in your life is extending mercy to that you may not deserve? How can showing mercy to those who don’t deserve help transform your life? How can you grow to be like Jesus extending mercy and grace in love?
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ge 42:14–26). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.