In Genesis chapters 43-44, Joseph’s brothers still don’t recognize him, and Joseph continues to test them to see if they have changed. His brothers eventually come back to Egypt for more food, and this time they bring their younger brother Benjamin, as Joseph had demanded. When they do, Joseph threatens to take Benjamin captive in Egypt.
It’s as if Joseph is trying to punish them for selling him into slavery as a youth.
When Joseph threatens to keep their younger brother, Judah is willing to trade his life for Benjamin’s…to spare Benjamin from slavery and to spare their father from heartbreak. There was a time when Judah and his brothers didn’t care about Joseph’s life or the heartbreak of his father Jacob, but they have had a change of heart.
What looked like Joseph trying to make their lives difficult was actually Joseph trying to prove they had changed and were no longer the uncaring brothers who treated him with such selfishness and callous disregard when he was younger.
Much like the actions of Joseph with his brothers, God uses the events and circumstances of our lives for the purpose of changing our hearts. They are His instruments of heart surgery, to get us to a place where we are willing to lay down our life for the sake of God and others.
Are we willing to sacrifice our lives for another? Are we motivated to do everything we can to protect the Heavenly Father from the heartbreak of losing another child?
I don’t know about you, but if I’m honest with myself, I would have to say my heart needs more changing. I need to be more willing to sacrifice for my Heavenly Father and for others…just like Judah…just like Jesus.
Bret Legg is the Teaching and Counseling Pastor at Warren Baptist Church in Augusta, GA.