September 21, 2014

Confrontation: a Father's Accusation

Genesis 42:29-38

Their father Jacob said to them, “You have deprived me of my children … and now you want to take Benjamin. Everything is against me!”
—Genesis 42:36


Now it was father Jacob’s turn to confront his sons. His tone might not have been as harsh as Joseph’s, but his charge was heavy: “You have deprived me of my children.”

Many years earlier he had been inconsolable after hearing of Joseph’s disappearance. “All his sons and daughters” had tried “to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted” (Genesis 37:35). Joseph’s older brothers were forced each day to face a heartbroken father. Yet they kept their secret hidden. Indeed, they lied to themselves that they were honest men.

Do we not also do the same—believing our own lies if we tell them to ourselves often enough?

But now God turns up the pressure. The brothers are forced to face a father whose grief is now multiplied. First it was Joseph, and now Simeon is gone, and Benjamin could be next! Jacob reminds them that Benjamin is “the only one [of Rachel’s sons] left.” This blatant favoritism may well make them bristle. (“The &lsquoonly one left’? How about us, the other nine? Don’t we count?”)

Still, Jacob could be right! Benjamin could be taken too. Where would that leave the brothers? The pressure rises, but they still won’t crack.

Father, as you reveal to us how tightly entrenched sins, bitter attitudes, and dirty secrets can grip our stony hearts, we tremble. We need your shattering truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the author — Kenneth D. Koeman

Rev. Ken Koeman is a pastor at Bellevue, Washington, Christian Reformed Church. He has written Today devotions in past years and has also authored numerous articles for The Banner, the magazine of the Christian Reformed Church. Ken and his wife, Kay, live in Bellevue and have two children and five grandchildren.

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