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September 13, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“As he looked about and saw his brother Benjamin, his own mother’s son, he asked, ‘Is this your youngest brother, the one you told me about?’ And he said, ‘God be gracious to you, my son.’ Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there.”—Genesis 43:29–30 (NIV)
Have you ever read, witnessed, or experienced something that just caused your insides to turn and your heart to be broken and full of such emotion that it literally moved you in a profound direction? For many, the events of 9/11 moved them to serve in the military so they could protect and defend the lives of their fellow countrymen.
In today’s passage, we see Joseph was deeply moved. But just before this, we read how fearful his brothers were because the silver they’d used to pay for the food was somehow in their bag. They were afraid the Egyptian lord would accuse them of theft, but Joseph’s steward assured them, “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure in your sacks; I received your silver” (Genesis 43:23 NIV). And the man was right—God was the One orchestrating everything that was taking place for His good purposes.
So now, after having convinced Israel to send Benjamin with them, Joseph saw his younger brother, the only other child born of Rachel, and it was too much for him. He couldn’t contain his emotion, so he ran off to weep. The expression here conveys the same emotion we see from the father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son when he saw his son coming back home. One pastor said, “It was an emotion so deep and so forceful that it would make your stomach churn.”
This is the second time we see Joseph experience deep emotions in the last two chapters—the first being when his brothers discussed their cruelty toward him all those years ago. In each of these instances, I bet Joseph wanted to reveal everything to his brothers, but God was using him to bring his brothers to the place of confession and repentance first.
Friends, this is a picture of what our relationship with those who don’t know Jesus can be! We should be deeply moved, gripped, and consumed by compassion for those who don’t know Jesus, because the sad fact is that those who die apart from reconciling with Jesus, who fail to repent and put their trust in Him, will go to hell. This thought should keep us up at night. Our hearts should be so deeply moved that our actions are led by the Holy Spirit as He works in and through us to reach the people He’s put in our lives.
Like Joseph, sometimes He will use us to slowly draw people. That means we’ll need to exercise patience and empathy. It means we’ll have to build relationships, share a table with people, and invest in their lives, as opposed to just throwing it all at them. We must be passionate about reaching people and be bold to do it, but we must also be open to how the Spirit wants to reach people.
DIG: Why didn’t Joseph reveal his identity to his brothers sooner? Why did he hide away to weep twice?
DISCOVER: What are you moved by? What grips you the same way Joseph was moved?
DO: Ask the Lord to give you His heart for those who don’t know Him and to provide you with opportunities to draw people to Him.