Genesis 43:30-31 paints Joseph’s feelings through those moments prior to his reveal. “And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there. And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.”
Again, at the time he divulged his identity, his true heart was demonstrated. “And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God send me before you to preserve life.” (Gen. 45:4-5)
Joseph’s response to his brothers was one of tenderness. A tender responses shows genuine forgiveness. Part of that grace was the extending of opportunities through which his brothers could prove they had changed.
Money--- Were they still greedy, like Judah had been when he offered to sell Joseph for a profit? Or, could they show that money wasn’t as important as integrity?
Family welfare-- Was Benjamin REALLY at home, or had they plotted mischief against him like they did to Joseph? If he was at home as they said, was he well-treated? Could they prove that he had flourished under their tutelage?
Strength—Simeon, as family leader (now that Reuben had lost his position of favor) was chosen to linger in prison. Could he endure with the strength he would need to lead a clan, or would he continue with rash, hot tempered responses to perceived injustices?
Pride—Would pride at being invited to the “governor’s” table cause them to behave out of turn, or could the brothers handle recognition with appreciation and gratitude?
Jealousy— How would they respond to the lavish attention Benjamin received during the noon repast? Would they be jealous, or could they be happy for him?
Faithfulness—Would they forget their vows to their father when Benjamin was accused of stealing, or would they remain committed to Benjamin when the stakes were raised?
Blessing—Would they be bitter about the reward, knowing it came from someone they’d wronged, someone who’d been proven right, someone more righteous and worthy than they, someone elevated above their own ranks? Or could they submit to the blesser and enjoy their blessing? Could they handle what they’d been given responsibly?
We have been given forgiveness expressed in the tenderest of ways, and we, too have the opportunity to prove the change in our lives through the tests that come our way.
Money--- Are we greedy? Do we trust in our money? How do we handle the financial issues of our lives? Do we honor God with our tithe and offerings?
Family welfare—Do we treat our family with love and respect? What about our spiritual family? Do we look out for our brothers and sisters and seek to protect their welfare, their reputations, and their future?
Strength--Have we learned how to withstand the pressures and injustices in our lives? Do we respond with grace or fury?
Pride--How do we handle our moments in the lime light? Do we realize that credit belongs to God who graciously promoted us or favored us, or do we seek the credit for ourselves?
Jealousy---What about when others are promoted above us? Do we feel okay with other’s quintuple blessing, even if we don’t get such favor, or do we feel threatened and cheated?
Faithfulness--- Do we remain faithful when the going gets tough? Do we stick with our spouse, our friends, our church, our business, our values when there is a personal cost, when things look like they won’t be favorable for us, when things go against our plans?
Blessing—Can we receive blessing with an open hand and an open heart? No matter its source? Even when we know we don’t deserve it? Do we warmly receive salvation, forgiveness, and love? Do we, in turn, freely give of what has been generously given to us?
Tip/Tidbit: How are you handling the forgiveness, mercy, and opportunities God has given you? Let Joseph’s very imperfect brothers be reminders that situations can prove the positive changes in you.