Genesis 43:8-10 It was Judah rather than Reuben, the oldest brother, who spoke up assertively with a firm promise to Jacob. This is a FORESHADOWING of the role the Tribe of Judah would play in salvation history: both David and Christ came out of the Tribe of Judah.
Ch 44:1-38 Joseph’s ruse regarding the silver cup succeeded in bringing about the repentance of his brothers for the terrible injustice committed against him years before. True repentance leads to true reconciliation and joy. (CCC 1434, 1451-1453)
Job 35:12-14 Dryness in prayer is a common affliction that requires faith and hope that God is purifying us for the sake of true growth in holiness. (CCC 2754)
Ch 36:1-33 Elihu claimed that sickness, loss, and pain are means God uses to reveal our sins so that we might repent and reconcile with him. Though the reality of suffering is a mystery, God, who is infinitely wise and loving, accomplishes great good through this purifying means. Suffering has redemptive value; God will use affliction and adversity to help us overcome sin and become transformed in Christ.
Ch 36:36 God’s greatness is far beyond human comprehension. We can grow in our knowledge of God though an ever greater obedience to his moral law. By growing in virtue our familiarity with God increases. (CCC 223)
Proverbs 4:10-27 The options faced when making a moral decision are compared aptly to multiple paths that lead to various destinations. The correct path is not always the easiest, and many times it may seem the most rugged. When facing such decisions, we must consider where the different paths ultimately lead and choose a virtuous path that leads to God. The practical wisdom of prudence guides our consciences so our choices reflect moral law and are expressions of virtue. Wisdom and prudence are perfected through regular contemplation of God’s Word, familiarity with the Church’s teachings, and openness to frequent repentance. (CCC 89, 1785, 1802, 1889, 2863)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
At first, Jacob refuses to let Benjamin go with his other sons to Egypt.
But later, when his family is in danger of starving to death, Jacob relents.
He gives them balm, honey, myrrh, pistachios, almonds, and gum, along with double the money to atone for taking grain without payment, reasoning that “perhaps it was an oversight” (Gn 43:12).
Jacob’s lack of conviction implies that he no longer trusts his sons.
Now we have come full circle.
While earlier in the story the sons had lied and deceived their father about the fate of Joseph, now, ironically, the sons are telling their father the truth, yet he does not believe them.
They leave home, taking one of Rachel’s sons, this time Benjamin, down to Egypt in a caravan bearing the same goods as the caravan that had carried Joseph (Gn 37:25).
Another doubling of events! (What is the other instance of doubling of events in Joseph’s story? The return of the brothers without Joseph after they sold him into slavery, and then the return of the brothers FROM EGYPT without Simeon have you seen again how patterns repeat and we are STILL in the Book of Genesis :) )
Again the brothers greet Joseph by bowing down to him on the ground (Gn 43:26). (another doubling of events his dream told him the brothers would bow before him and they end up doing so TWICE)
Joseph hosts a meal for them and seats them according to birth order at the table.
They are astonished at their seating arrangements, and Joseph is deeply moved to see his full brother, Benjamin.
Once again, re-supplied with grain and with Simeon restored to them, they leave Egypt in peace.
But shortly into their journey, Joseph’s chief steward overtakes them.
He charges them with stealing Joseph’s silver cup, which Joseph had planted in Benjamin’s sack.
As their bags are searched they deny the theft, swearing that whoever has taken it should remain a slave in Egypt.
To their shock, Joseph’s silver goblet is discovered in Benjamin’s pack.
Now is the crucial moment in the story.
Will they again abandon one of their brothers, a son of Rachel, to be a slave in Egypt?
The brothers have changed.
JUDAH, the very one who had proposed selling Joseph into slavery, has been humbled by the grace of God over the years (which is why his seemingly irrelevant story is inserted into the narrative in Genesis 38).
He pleads: “Benjamin only is left of his mother’s children; and his father loves him. … Take me instead. I’ll be a slave to my lord instead of Benjamin” (see Gn 44:18-34).
Judah is now willing to become a slave and make an offering of himself to save his brother.
(*Walking With God: A Journey Through the Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)
There is something about these TWELVE BROTHERS
Originally, these brothers were jealous of the love their father had for the youngest brother Joseph
They were willing to KILL HIM until they sold him into slavery
Something has now changed in the lives and the hearts of these brothers, these men
When Benjamin is born and also beloved by his father Jacob, his life is now threatened and by extension, it breaks Jacob’s heart
Before, they didn’t care that Jacob was heartbroken about Joseph’s “death”
But now something must have changed in the lives and in the hearts of these brothers during all the years that Joseph was away
They must have realized that they didn’t want to be those kinds of sons
They didn’t want to needlessly grieve their father
They put THEIR OWN LIVES on the line for the NEW BELOVED SON, Benjamin
This demonstrates that they have changed
If there is anything we can take heart in, it is that YES WE ARE BROKEN AND MESSY (or haven’t you noticed yet?) BUT WE CAN CHANGE!!
Who is the person who put his life on the line for Benjamin?
JUDAH, WHO HAD RELATIONS WITH HIS DAUGHTER IN LAW THINKING SHE WAS A PROSTITUTE!!!
Judah gives up his life for his father, his youngest brother Benjamin, and for his other brothers (Can you think of anyone who will end up coming from Judah's family line who ends up giving up his own life for others willingly?)
The fact that we are broken and NEED GOD’S HELP is a reality every single day of our lives
What’s not as obvious is that WE CAN CHANGE!!
WITH GOD’S HELP, THINGS CAN BECOME DIFFERENT!!
Judah, the fourth brother, whose name means “PRAISE”, had fallen in a bad way earlier in Genesis
But NOW, he is a SHINING SON AND BROTHER
And NOW, we can look to Judah as an EXAMPLE and say, “If I have the choice, if I have the chance to spare my parents, to spare my siblings of needless grief then LET ME BE LIKE JUDAH”
We pray that like Joseph, we walk with the Lord and the Lord is with us
We also pray that like Judah, we can change with God’s help
If there is anything that Grace teaches us, it is that NONE OF US have to remain stuck in our sin or brokenness
With God’s Grace, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US CAN CHANGE
We need to be reminded of the FACT that God TRULY does want us, speaks to us, and communicates Himself to us
Did God speak something to you today? Why don’t you speak something back?
Take today’s Scripture to God in prayer
Take each other to prayer
Let’s intercede on behalf of the MILLIONS of people who are reading the Bible in a Year with Fr Mike
Prayer by Fr. Mike: "God in Heaven, we thank you and praise you. You are our Good Father. You love us. You reveal your heart to us. We ask that you please continue to send your Holy Spirit upon us as we listen to your Word, as we let it penetrate our minds, and transform our hearts, as we let your Word be the North Star that guides the direction of our lives. Mary, Queen of Heaven, we ask for your intercession. We ask that you lead us to your Son, Jesus Christ. You who bore the Word Made Flesh in your Womb, help the Word Proclaimed dwell in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen."