Read Genesis 44:1-34
What went through the steward’s mind as Joseph had him frame his brothers’? Did he suspect his boss’ insanity? Did he sense the emotional baggage from which Joseph schemed? And what about Simeon? Imprisoned in Egypt while he waited for his brothers’ return. Did he wonder if they would ever come back? Had he resigned to his own lifelong imprisonment? What thoughts ran through each of their heads as Joseph carefully worked his plan to discern their sincerity and eventually reconcile with them through his God-empowered forgiveness.
They’d been stuck at home, starvation knocking on the front door, because of their father’s fear. He’d already lost two huge pieces of his heart. His beloved wife Rachel died. Then their son Joseph turned up missing. Jacob wasn’t going to let the final piece of his grief-stricken heart just walk away with the others at the mercy of some unknown Egyptian ruler.
But they needed food. So Judah stepped up and decided to take full responsibility for whatever may come of their father’s new favorite. (See Gen. 37:26-27.)
Judah had changed over the last 20-some years. He’d been broken and humbled in more ways than one. Clearly, God had been working His plan for growth in more than just Joseph’s heart. Many years earlier, Judah had been called out by his widowed daughter-in-law for his own fear of losing a son and not following the letter of the law. (You can read about that in Genesis 38.) His heart had been broken in humility before God. Now he was a changed man, ready to do whatever it took to ensure that this time his father would not have to know the pain of losing yet another son.
When they showed up red-handed before Joseph, the brothers threw themselves to the ground before him. They threw themselves at his mercy. Oh, how the tables had turned from those 20-some years ago when they had thrown him to beg for their mercy. Still, somehow, Judah knew that it was God who had found them out. It was God whose mercy they needed. (See Gen. 42:21.)
And clearly, God’s fingers had been working every last detail of this beautiful story. He is doing the same for us today. Let’s not forget that for even one minute