Scripture: He replied, “Peace to you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them. Genesis 43:23 ESV
Observation: Continuing the narrative with Judah pledging his life to Jacob as assurance for safeguarding Benjamen, the nine older brothers, less Simeon (under house arrest), return to Egypt, where Joseph’s steward escorts them to Joseph’s house. Assuming the worst, his brothers frantically plea to the steward that they had no idea how the money submitted for payment of grain (during their first trip) ended up in their sacks (which they later discovered when they returned home). However, the steward responds with reassuring words of comfort (above verse), extending a blessing of peace but twisting the truth to alleviate Jospeph’s brothers’ fears. [Per Joseph’s instruction, his servants had filled their bags with grain as well as the payment money (42:25)].
Takeaway: This segment of the story raises a “situation ethics” question of whether it is okay to lie if the truth will cause more harm than a lie. While it’s a worthy discussion for Christians that invokes merit on both sides of the argument, we will not tackle this question here. Instead, we can conclude from the text that our God is sovereign and accomplishes his purposes by any means he so chooses. Indeed, in one sense, Joseph’s brother’s God did “put treasure in [their] sacks.” It may have landed there by human scheming. Still, their actions served the Lord’s purposes. But the steward’s claim that he received their money is a stretch. Maybe he collected it, but he did not keep it—lol!
What does this mean to you and me? God will creatively move in the lives of others to extend blessings to us—even those who are not Christians. Assuming the gift is not obtained by illegal means, we would do well to welcome blessings with expressed gratitude to the “steward” of our Lord and to our Father, who is our ultimate provider of all good gifts from above (James 1:17).
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for all the ways you shower your blessings on us, whether with words of comfort and affirmation or with material needs. Would you please help us receive your gracious gifts with gratitude to you and those who act on your behalf? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling