“Please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy,
and let the boy return with his brothers.” Genesis 38:36
Benjamin’s life hung in the balance! Benjamin, second born son of Rachel, great love of Jacob’s life, stood convicted of theft before Joseph, a powerful Egyptian ruler. The sentence had been pronounced. Benjamin would become a slave in Egypt. His brothers could return home without him.
At that moment Judah stepped forward and offered himself in trade. “I will be your slave,” he said, “please send Benjamin home to his father.”
Don’t miss the amazing power of this moment!
Remember! It was Judah who years before had hatched the plan to sell Joseph into slavery. “Let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites,” he had suggested. His brothers agreed, and Joseph was sent on to slavery in Egypt.
Now, many years later, not knowing that he was standing before his younger brother, Judah, already the first person in the Bible to confess a sin (see yesterday’s devotion), also becomes the first to offer himself as a sacrifice to save the life of another.
In response, Joseph reveals his true identity to his brothers with tears and forgiveness. He is the first person in the Bible to forgive a sin. The children of this family, who probably should have been called Jacobites after father Jacob, instead become forever known by a variation of Judah’s name: Jews.
You see, where confession meets with forgiveness, the world is changed. Broken relationships are mended, families reunited. The grace and love of Jesus becomes real with power. The greatest measure of a hero, the measure of our Lord Jesus, is forgiveness. How heroic are you in that regard?
Lord Jesus, I want to live in the power of Your gracious and forgiving spirit. Fill me with Your love so I may pass it on without conditions. Amen.
There is healing and the power to change the world in forgiveness. Is there someone you need to forgive? Communicate with him or her this week, no matter how hurt or scared. (Note: if there was any abuse involved, please talk to a pastor or councilor first, and don’t meet with the person alone)