“And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying ‘Your father did command before he died, saying So shall you say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray you now, the trespass of your brethren and their sin—for they did unto you evil; and, now, we pray you, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.’ And, Joseph wept when they spoke unto him.”
Until we realize this, we may be saved by Grace, but we can’t rest in it.
“And Joseph wept when they spoke unto him.”
Five different times in the story of Joseph’s life do we find him weeping (Gen. 42:24; 43:30; 45:1-2, 14-15; 50:17c). Does this mean he was a wimpish cry-baby or does it reveal he still had a tender heart in spite of all that he’d been through?
We know the answer, don’t we?
A weeping heart is a tender heart rooted in a forgiving spirit. A “root of bitterness” (Heb. 12:15) dries out the heart, making it stone-cold and barren; but, Jesus’ Love and Forgiveness enable us to do the same, giving us a heart like His (Lk. 7:47).
The question, then, in today’s Manna is: “Why did Joseph weep when his brothers begged him to forgive their trespass and even invoked their father’s name in hopes of persuading them?” Simply because they were still filled with guilt and fear.
When they first arrived in Egypt to buy food after the famine began, they didn’t recognize Joseph because he looked and talked like an Egyptian; plus, he purposely kept his identity from them (Gen. 42:7-8). Later on, he finally revealed himself to them. . .told them of God’s good plan in his life (and theirs). . .and how they’d “dwell near him in the land of Egypt and he, the second-in-command, would nourish them and Pharaoh would give them the best of everything” (45:10-22; 47:11-12).
For 17 years—including the last five years of the famine—they enjoyed the best land, best house, best clothes, best food, etc., available in Egypt because of their connection with Joseph. But, evidently they couldn’t enjoy it because of their fear and guilt.
When Joseph accused them of being spies in the land, “they said one to another, ‘We are very guilty concerning our brother in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us’” (42:21). And, then Reuben added, “Didn’t I tell you ‘Do not sin against the child’ and you would not hear? Therefore, behold, also his blood is required’” (v.22).
Upon hearing this, “Joseph turned away from them and wept” (v.24).
His heart ached to see and hear their self-condemnation and heavy guilt. Likewise, later on when Joseph’s cup was found in Benjamin’s sack—placed there by Joseph’s servant (44:1-12)—Judah blamed himself and his brothers by saying “God has found out the iniquity of your servants” (v.16b). How difficult it is to enjoy God’s Grace and Forgiveness when we keep reminding ourselves of our past sins. If He forgets them (Jer. 31:34; Ps. 104:12), who are we to keep a record of them? Rest in His Grace, Pilgrim. You’re forgiven in Christ. Glory!!!
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated September 23, 2009