A Change of Heart
This story is full of human drama and emotion. Joseph is so overcome when he sees Benjamin he has to go and find a place to weep. The brothers are nervous at first, they relax during the feast and then when they discover the silver in their sacks they start panicking…
There’s so much that’s gone on between the brothers in Jacob’s family – hurt, lies, jealousy, and unkindness. Why does Joseph play this game with them? Why not reveal himself straight away? He’s testing them to see if their hearts have really changed. He puts them into a situation where they are desperate because in times of desperation we stop concentrating on what the ‘right’ thing to say or do is and we always go with our hearts. This is what Jesus is teaching his disciples about (Matt 15:18-19).
When someone puts me in a difficult situation – either by turning up at my door uninvited, or doing something to annoy me then my reaction is very revealing! Usually all my ‘holy chat’ disappears and it’s just the ugly truth of Andy. Maybe you find it’s the same. This isn’t a passage to discourage us, it helps us see what’s important – if we want to honour God in the difficult places and the desperate places, we need to pay less attention to trying to appear holy and instead be asking God to do some heart surgery.
The Canaanite woman had something right – in her difficult and desperate circumstances she cried out to Jesus and wouldn’t back off. The psalmist in his desperation cried out ‘How long O Lord?’ These are the cries of people whose hearts are in a good place, a place where they seek God, even if their circumstances are far from good. The psalmist, whilst he knew sorrow in his heart (ps 13:2), also declared, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” (ps 13:5)
There’s hope for all of us in this. While God had been busy working on Joseph in Egypt I suspect he was also busy re-shaping his brothers at home. Judah, whose idea it had been to sell Joseph as a slave in the first place (see Gen 37:26) is now so desperate to protect Benjamin he begs, “let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers.” He’s willing to sell himself as a slave to save Benjamin! The only thing that could have changed Judah’s actions so dramatically is a changed heart.
Today ask God for the one thing that makes a difference: heart surgery.
Today’s picture was taken by…
Good lad Jamie Hatswell who’s a regular reader of the blog! If you’d like to take your own picture to potentially be featured on the blog, then get your Soul Survivor Bible in One Year, and take a picture of yourself – and your Bible – at some interesting or colourful location. Then email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The pictures will need to be a pretty good resolution (we use 640px by 360 px so at least as big as that) and if you include the day of the reading in the picture then make sure you send it to us a good few days before that reading, so we have time to include it in that day’s post! We’ll credit all photographers!