Summary: What if you took a step beyond privately forgiving those who’ve hurt, betrayed, caused you suffering? What if you prepared a feast on their behalf and showed them love and mercy ~ whether it was done in secret, or whether it was done personally? What if
God in the Ebb & Flow of Life:
Toying or Feasting?
Scripture Text: Genesis 43.19-34
Have you ever-been “toyed” with?
[INSERT YOUR OWN STORY OF A TIME IN WHICH SOMEONE ‘TOYED’ WITH YOU OR PLAYED A PRANK ON YOU… KEEP IT LIGHT-HEARTED!]
It raises-the-question: Have you ever been “toyed” with?... Someone pulls-your-leg?... …or plays a practical joke, on you?... …or, even-maliciously tries-to-trick you in a sinister-way? Has-that-kinda-thing every-happened to you?
As I read chapters 42 and 43 of Genesis, …I’m left wondering whether Joseph isn’t ‘toying’ with his brothers!
You remember the story: Joseph had a dream about his brothers bowing-down to him… And because of the dream, …his brothers absolutely-hated him!
And-so, …they betrayed him: …sold-him-into-slavery, …and-then told dear-ole-dad that some wild animals must-have torn him to pieces because all they brought home was his bloody-coat.
But, …as we followed Joseph down-into-Egypt, …through a series of events, …God worked through situations-and-people to eventually-place Joseph in a very powerful-position in Egypt.
Years-go-by; …the rest-of-the-family still lived a long-way-away, in the land of Canaan. And-then, …a terrible-famine struck the entire region; …so-that Joseph’s brothers traveled all-the-way to Egypt to try-to-find-food for their family-and-the-flocks.
When they arrived-in-Egypt, …they came before Joseph, …who was in-charge of food-distribution. They had-to-ask him permission to-buy food ~ ..but, they didn’t-even-recognize that this-was their long-lost-brother!
Joseph pretended not-to-know them; …and he accused them of being foreign-spies! He determined to hold one-of-them captive while the others returned home, …fetched their youngest brother, Benjamin, …and-then, …they were to bring him to Egypt to prove that they were who they said they were!
You might-be-wondering how these guys didn’t-recognize Joseph, …after-all, he was their very-own-brother!
Well, it’s been over 20 years since they last-laid-eyes on-him! The last-time they saw him: he was around 17-to-18 years old; …now, he’s about 40~
The last-time they saw him: he was the son-of-a-shepherd; …now, he is the ruler-of-Egypt.
The last-time they saw him: he was stripped and wearing chains (carried off as-a-slave); …now, he wears the clothes of royalty (complete with ring and staff and a golden necklace).
The last-time they saw him: he had nothing in his possession; …now, he holds the stock-piles of the entire-empire-of-Egypt!
The last-time they saw him: they looked at him through the eyes of hatred-and-anger; …now, they look at him through eyes filled with fear-and-humility!
A lot-has-changed in the last 20 years! It’s no-wonder that they don’t recognize their-own flesh-and-blood – standing right-before-their-very-eyes!