September 26, 2014

Joseph's Brothers: Conversion

Genesis 44:18-34

“Now then, 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 44:33


The repentant heart of Judah brings him to a beautiful conversion. In one of the most eloquent speeches in Scripture, he pleads with Joseph to accept him as a substitute—and to spare not only Benjamin but also the life of his aged father. Judah knows his father’s heart: if Jacob loses Benjamin, it could bring him to his grave in sorrow.

So this once proud, now broken man sincerely offers up his life as a slave, to spare a favored son and a devoted father. What a change from the Judah who said they should sell Joseph, their father’s favorite, into slavery! Now he offers himself as a slave in place of the remaining favored brother, Benjamin.

Let’s look at this carefully! Here we have another picture of the mission of Christ. This offer of Judah points to the ultimate self-sacrifice of Jesus, who, knowing the Father’s ardent love for us, took “the very nature of a servant [slave]” (Philippians 2:7)—to rescue us from our slavery to sin and (wondrously) to spare his Father the unbearable grief of losing us, his dear children!

“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). What wondrous love is this!

Eternal Father, open my eyes to discover anew how precious I am to you. In grace, bring me to taste your wonderful love and daily mercies. In Jesus, 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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