Tuesday, November 30, 2010

JUST FOR THE FAMILY

"And Joseph made haste; for his [heart] did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there" (Genesis 43:30).

This is a picture of the heart of our Savior—even toward the sinful. Joseph’s brothers were in his house, eating and drinking in his presence. But "Joseph sat by himself, and they by themselves" (Genesis 43:32). We dare not pass lightly over the significance of this statement. These men were rejoicing in Joseph's presence without being fully restored, without really knowing him, without a revelation of love and grace.

We can be a praising people who eat and drink in the Lord's presence but have not yet received a revelation of His infinite love. The sense of being unloved still remains in their hearts. This is the case of Christians who go to God's house to sing, worship, and praise and then go home to the same old lie: "God doesn't show me any evidence that he loves me. My prayers go unanswered. He doesn't really care about me the way he cares for other Christians."

There was one final step for Joseph's brothers to take before they could be given a full revelation of love. Such a revelation is given to those who are broken-hearted and contrite. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (Psalms 51:17). The brothers were not yet brokenhearted (Genesis 43:34).

These men had acknowledged their sin, but they needed to be completely broken, totally at the end of their bitterness and human resources, before Joseph could reveal his love to them. So Joseph put them to a final test. He commanded his steward to slip his personal silver cup into the sack of Benjamin, the youngest brother, before they returned to Canaan. The brothers were hardly out of the city when Joseph's men overtook them and accused them of stealing the cup. They were so certain of their innocence that they said, "With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord's [slaves]" (Genesis 44:9).

Listen to the change in their attitudes: "God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord's servants" (Genesis 44:16). There was no more fight in them. No more pride. They were humbled, broken—at last they cried out from the depths of their hearts, "We give up! We surrender!"

Then came the revelation of the great love of God. “Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren" (Genesis 45:1).

The world knows nothing of this revelation of love. They now had the sense of family—of unconditional love and acceptance. Scripture tells us that Joseph "wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard" (Genesis 45:2). The world can hear about God's love but only family can experience it. Only the family of God is dealt with in such love and mercy.
Beloved, God dwells within the humble and brokenhearted. He delights in his family—he has loved us all these past years, even when we were sinners. Rest in his love for you.