September 22, 2014

Confrontation: in a Tight Spot

Genesis 43:1-15

Judah said … “The man warned us solemnly, &lsquoYou will not see my face again unless your brother is with you.’”
—Genesis 43:3


As long as the grain from Egypt lasted, an uneasy peace settled over the tents of Jacob’s clan. But two relentless forces bore down on them: the cruel famine parched the earth, and the food supply dwindled. Before long, they would need more grain.

But two other mighty forces were also squeezing the hardened sons of Jacob. On one side was that stern ruler, with his unyielding demand to see their youngest brother. And on the other side was their father, who could not bear the risk of letting his “only” son go.

What pressure! But does it finally compel the brothers to come clean and confess their deep secret to father Jacob? No. Sinful secrets are not easily exposed. It is so hard to admit doing wrong. Judah even tries to reprimand his father, saying they could have made two round trips to Egypt by now if Jacob had not delayed them.

Finally, Judah strikes a deal with Jacob, offering to take full responsibility for Benjamin. And Jacob finally relents, telling his sons to bring many gifts to “the man” in Egypt, along with double the amount of silver they found in their sacks.

So the brothers hurry off to Egypt—not knowing they are finally on their way to coming clean for their sin from so long ago.

O God, when you allow relentless pressure to bear down on us, grant that we might see such times as a call to search our hearts. And if we’re at fault, guide us to come clean. 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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