What does it say?
The famine continues (Gen 43) but Jacob will not turn loose of Benjamin to get more food from Egypt. God literally is starving Jacob into the position of provision and blessing. Finally, with no other options, Jacob agrees to release Benjamin, who then goes with his brothers to Egypt where Joseph is waiting.
Loaded and ready to return to Canaan, officials stop the brothers and discover Joseph’s ceremonial silver cup in Benjamin’s luggage (Gen 44). As their hearts race with fear, the brothers are finally ready to own up to what they did to Joseph, believing that they are suffering judgment for their sin.
We could not imagine the emotion that has been building in Joseph. He finally reveals his true identity to his brothers (Gen 45). Joseph then sends them to Canaan to bring Jacob and their families, promising to provide for them the best that Egypt has to offer. Jacob is overcome to learn that Joseph is not only alive, but leader over all Egypt.
What does it mean?
On a personal and devotional level Chapters 43-44 focus on trial. One might think Joseph is playing mind games with his brothers or setting up some type of revenge, but these are the same brothers who coldly sold him into slavery and told his father he was dead. Joseph must know if they would also sell Benjamin as they had sold him, or if they have matured. God also tries us to reveal what is within us.
Far more is at stake here than the survival of several tribes from Canaan in a severe famine. We are reading the account of the cosmic struggle to redeem creation from the plague of sin. At every step there is far more that we cannot see or understand than what we can. Look closely once again at 45:4-8. This is the very theological heart of what is happening here.
How will I respond?
Am I, or someone I know, going through a time of trial? Could it be that the trial itself is only secondary and that God is using this trial to move me into a position of better provision and blessing? Will I learn to “think outside the trial?” With job, health or other circumstances, is God having to “starve me” into a position of blessing? What one step of obedience will I finally take today? Engaging with my church, following Christ in baptism, learning to give to my church, accepting to serve in my church, being a friend to neighbor I’ve been avoiding? Those are merely a few examples.