Daily Devotional

Love Lifts Up the Load

Monday, April 15, 2019

Scripture: So they went up from Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26They told him, “Joseph is still alive and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt!” Jacob almost fainted, for he did not believe them. 27But when they related to him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to transport him, their father Jacob’s spirit revived. 28Then Israel said, “Enough! My son Joseph is still alive! I will go and see him before I die.” (Genesis 45:25-28 NET)

Observation: After testing the motives of their hearts and being satisfied, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers and tells them to bring his father and to all come together to live in the land of Goshen because the famine would last five more years.  He then sends them back loaded with food and goods and carts to bring all their possessions and Jacob as soon as possible.  When the brothers arrive in Canaan, immediately they tell Jacob about Joseph.  There are several things about this story that are interesting:
1. In 44:28, Joseph finds out for the first time what story their brothers had told Jacob about his fate – that he had been torn to pieces.
2. Since Benjamin was also present, it might have been the first time he himself had heard the truth about what they had done to his brother Joseph.
3. In our passage for today, although it is not directly mentioned but rather implied, they had to confess to Jacob about what happened or what they did to Joseph and revealed that their story and Joseph’s robe torn and dipped in blood was made up by them to hide the fact they had sold him as a slave.
     Jacob’s reaction was twofold:
1. Jacob almost fainted.  This expression in the original Hebrew means “his heart was numb,” meaning that he was stunned by the unbelievable news and was unable to respond, as if he were dead.
2. When Jacob heard it all and saw the physical evidence – the carts, etc., his heart was revived.  It was “emotional CPR.”
3. Jacob heard enough of their story and put a stop to it so they would not delay their trip and he could see Joseph before he’d die.

Application: We know that Reuben’s reaction when he did not find Joseph in the well was sorrow.  We don’t know at which point the ten began to feel that what they had done was wrong, but I imagine that seeing Jacob suffer for the loss of his son might have touched their hearts deeply.  From then on, and for the intervening years until they met Joseph face to face, they carried this burden of unconfessed sin.  Now, having confessed their sin, though unknowingly, to Joseph, and before Benjamin, once Joseph revealed to them who he was the first reaction might have been fear, but the next reaction might have been relief, not only that Joseph was not angry with them, but that they didn’t have to carry that burden of secrecy within and among them any longer.
     The next challenge was to confess to their father what they had done and said.  At first they were probably scared that they might have scared their father to death, but once his spirit revived, that burden of guilt was once again removed, this time for good.
     Confession is always good.  Willard Harley speaks of total honesty in a relationship, which includes emotional and historical honesty.  That means that there may be times when we have said or done something with our spouse or our family being unaware of it, and we carry that burden of secrecy with us.  What happens, however, is that the secret builds up a barrier in our communication, in our emotional bond, in our intimacy, which may widen with time and therefore we cannot enjoy the true closeness we long for and need in order to have a fulfilling relationship and in order to be protected from falling again into the same mistake or others worse.  Why not confess and be completely honest and transparent.  Dishonesty, according to Harley, is one of the five “Love Busters” that destroy relationships.  Honesty, on the other hand, is one of the ten emotional needs that we as men and women have and without which our relationship suffers.  And pray that your spouse will be as gracious and forgiving as Joseph and Jacob were with the ten formerly jealous siblings.

A Prayer You May Use: Loving Father, give us the strength to confess our faults to one another and to be completely honest with each other, that we may enjoy the same transparency Adam and Eve had, the same openness that You desire for us as a couple.  And if our spouse confesses their faults, may we be gracious and forgiving, and also thankful that they were willing to be open rather than live in a world of secrecy.

Used by permission of Adventist Family Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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