Those who know me well know I’m far from perfect, and today has been a rather grumpy day! Too many broken nights do not make me sweet! Ever wonder why God bothers with you?
Judah was chosen by God to be in the line of descent for Jesus. That was an important role, but it didn’t make him perfect. He’d not done great things so far. Genesis 37:26-35 tells us how he circumnavigated big brother Reuben to get rid of Joseph once and for all, and then stood by to watch his father grieve for his lost son. He went on to baulk the family tradition and marry a Canaanite woman, then father a child to his daughter-in-law (Genesis 38). Messy life. In the face of starvation, he’d pledged to his father to keep young Benjamin safe, and be personally responsible for returning him (Genesis 43:8-9). Responsible at last! Or maybe just desperate.
Anyway, they’d gone to Egypt, bought their grain, and were on their way home when Joseph’s men came after them and discovered the special silver cup in Benjamin’s sack (Genesis 44:4-34). Deep trouble; deep, deep trouble! How heavy the hearts of those brothers must have been as they trailed back to the city, and to Joseph’s residence. Proclaiming their innocence was useless in the face of such stark incriminating evidence. And Benjamin of all people; why did it have to be Benjamin???
Judah finally came up trumps. He argued his case before this mighty Egyptian ruler as if his own life depended on it. He prevailed upon him and in so doing, demonstrated his earnest concern for young brother and aged father.
On first glance, it feels as if Joseph here was being vindictive, rubbing Judah’s nose in it, punishing him for his wicked treatment of Joseph himself. But then what struck me about this scene, was that Judah was being given the opportunity and the motivation to show his change of heart. Joseph wasn’t being deliberately unkind; he was giving Judah the chance to show he really cared for his family.
It reminds me of the scene by the seashore in John 21:15-19, where Jesus gave Peter the opportunity to recommit himself to Jesus.
And it reminds me that I too might have a bad day, but just like Peter and Judah, God wants to give me an opportunity to be forgiven and restored. Grace is all through the bible, and it’s available now, every day, in any situation. You just have to notice it’s all around you.