The Crucible and Hospitality

With Simeon back with the rest of the brothers, Joseph’s steward began giving the brothers a royal welcome in today’s installment of Joseph: A Life With Many Colors.

Genesis 43:24 The steward took the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet and provided fodder for their donkeys.   25 They prepared their gifts for Joseph’s arrival at noon, because they had heard that they were to eat there.

Eating at the Governor’s house was an unexpected and somewhat confusing turn of events for the brothers who were still fearing the worst, even though the steward had already reassured them.

Genesis 43:26 When Joseph came home, they presented to him the gifts they had brought into the house, and they bowed down before him to the ground.  27 He asked them how they were, and then he said, “How is your aged father you told me about? Is he still living?”

Two questions more!  Hadn’t they already said too much?

Genesis 43:28 They replied, “Your servant our father is still alive and well.” And they bowed down, prostrating themselves before him.   29 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?”

(Gulp!  Here was the moment they’d been dreading!)

“And he said, ‘God be gracious to you, my son.’”  30 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.

Think about it:

  • In what way should Joseph’s blessing have been reassuring to everyone?
  • What must the brothers have wondered seeing Joseph hurry out after seeing Benjamin?
  • The host of a meal would not normally abandon his company out of regard for the issue of hospitality.  In what way, did the hospitality question form a crucible (a situation of severe trial, a high temperature change-point)?  For Joseph?  And for his brothers? 
  • How did the sight of Benjamin bring the test to its boiling point?
  • We aren’t told how much time Joseph wept before returning.  What kinds of conversation must the brothers have had?
  • This test goes both ways: receiving hospitality and showing it. “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2 How do the concepts of “strangers” and true hospitality apply in our story today?

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on October 31, 2019

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