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Genesis 43:26–34 (ESV)

When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present that they had with them and bowed down to him to the ground. And he inquired about their welfare and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves. And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother's son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!” Then Joseph hurried out, for his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there. Then he washed his face and came out. And controlling himself he said, “Serve the food.” They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth. And the men looked at one another in amazement. Portions were taken to them from Joseph's table, but Benjamin's portion was five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank and were merry with him.

Remember, Joseph is speaking in Egyptian through a translator. Also, he’s keeping his distance from them. He has to keep putting on airs, partly because Egyptian custom demands it, but also to prevent being recognized. He also wants to keep up the pressure on his brothers.

But Joseph still doesn’t seem to have an endgame plan. He almost loses it (again) and has to rush off to cry. He cleans up and returns and, for now, manages to control himself. He then surprises his brothers by seating them in their birth order. Noticing this enormous coincidence, the men looked at one another in amazement. Then he shows great favoritism towards Benjamin. This puts even more pressure on the brothers. They’ve never been good with their father’s favoritism towards Benjamin, nor towards Joseph. This is an “in your face” move.

The Bible doesn’t say that this is meant as a test, but if it is, the brothers pass it. They simply enjoy the meal and everything seems pretty relaxed. They’re perplexed by the whole scene, but that just sits in the back of their minds as an unsolved mystery.

At last, Joseph’s brothers finally do something right. They’re thankful for the good things they have without being resentful of things they don’t have. They have plenty to eat in the middle of a famine, and they’re even okay with Benjamin being favored.

We live in an age of plenty, but we all know people who have more than us. Our job as Christians is to help everyone who needs Jesus. That includes those with enviable wealth.

Beware of assuming that your calling is to help those in the greatest need—the poor, the downhearted, the unsaved. Seminary professors are specifically called to minister to people who aren’t particularly needy, yet their contribution to the kingdom is priceless.

Be open to any calling. The body of Christ needs every kind of servant.

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, are here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NASB stands for the New American Standard Bible. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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