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Older Brother

Words of Faith Final

Older Brother
Words of Faith 8-2-2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2022
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Genesis 44
[14] Joseph was still in the house when Judah and his brothers came in, and they threw themselves to the ground before him. [15] Joseph said to them, "What is this you have done? Don't you know that a man like me can find things out by divination?"
[16] "What can we say to my lord?" Judah replied. "What can we say? How can we prove our innocence? God has uncovered your servants' guilt. We are now my lord's slaves--we ourselves and the one who was found to have the cup."
[17] But Joseph said, "Far be it from me to do such a thing! Only the man who was found to have the cup will become my slave. The rest of you, go back to your father in peace."
[18] Then Judah went up to him and said: "Please, my lord, let your servant speak a word to my lord. Do not be angry with your servant, though you are equal to Pharaoh himself. [19] My lord asked his servants, 'Do you have a father or a brother?' [20] And we answered, 'We have an aged father, and there is a young son born to him in his old age. His brother is dead, and he is the only one of his mother's sons left, and his father loves him.'
[21] "Then you said to your servants, 'Bring him down to me so I can see him for myself.' [22] And we said to my lord, 'The boy cannot leave his father; if he leaves him, his father will die.' [23] But you told your servants, 'Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you will not see my face again.' [24] When we went back to your servant my father, we told him what my lord had said.
[25] "Then our father said, 'Go back and buy a little more food.' [26] But we said, 'We cannot go down. Only if our youngest brother is with us will we go. We cannot see the man's face unless our youngest brother is with us.'
[27] "Your servant my father said to us, 'You know that my wife bore me two sons. [28] One of them went away from me, and I said, "He has surely been torn to pieces." And I have not seen him since. [29] If you take this one from me too and harm comes to him, you will bring my gray head down to the grave in misery.'
[30] "So now, if the boy is not with us when I go back to your servant my father and if my father, whose life is closely bound up with the boy's life, [31] sees that the boy isn't there, he will die. Your servants will bring the gray head of our father down to the grave in sorrow. [32] Your servant guaranteed the boy's safety to my father. I said, 'If I do not bring him back to you, I will bear the blame before you, my father, all my life!'
[33] "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. [34] How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come upon my father."

The brothers could not have imagined a situation worse than this! They had gone off to Egypt, taking Benjamin with them. Judah had promised to protect Benjamin even with his own life. But now, Benjamin was about to be lost to the family by some strange and unexplainable turn of events! Joseph's steward had apparently caught Benjamin in the act of stealing a valuable cup!
The brothers returned and bowed again before Joseph. Joseph confronted them with the betrayal of the theft. Judah spoke up and confessed that God had found out their iniquity. He declared that they were all Joseph's slaves. But Joseph announced that, as the steward had said, only the "guilty" one would be his slave. The others could return home.
This was the ultimate test. Would the brothers simply abandon Benjamin as they had Joseph years earlier? Would they make up some story to cover their cowardice?
No. It was Judah who spoke up and interceded for the boy. He made a lengthy plea that he should be imprisoned in place of Benjamin. His petition showed great concern for his father, who would surely die if Benjamin did not return with them.
Hearing all this must have stirred Joseph deeply. The one thing he had needed twenty years earlier was an older brother willing to protect him. If only one of the brothers had placed his own life in the balance for Joseph at least he would have known that someone in his family was looking after him. Joseph could see that one more delay caused by holding Benjamin might very well be the end of Jacob, who had carried heavy grief for so long.
This passage represents a huge turning point. At this point, Joseph could see his brothers' repentance even if the full confession of their crime against him had not yet come out. Joseph could see that the brothers had turned in a different direction. They had seen the great misery and pain that comes from selfish treachery and keeping a terrible secret. We can especially see that Judah came through. He was serious about his commitment to put his own life on the line if necessary to bring back Benjamin.
This was a turning point for Judah. He was finally doing the right thing. Sometimes we don't know what we are made of until we step out and do the right thing! There was significant pain in taking the course of courage, but that pain is never as great as the pain of cowardice.
There is one more point here. We all need such an older brother, don't we? We need someone who will stick up for us. We need someone who will rescue us. We need someone who will put his life on the line at the right moment so that we can return to our Father. Of course, we have just such an older brother. He is Jesus.
As the Apostle Paul put it, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6). Jesus stepped in and put Himself in our place so we might go home to the Father.

Father God, I rejoice in knowing that I have an older brother in Christ Jesus who would step into my place so I might go free. I rejoice to know that I am not alone and that my older brother is here to walk with me and watch over me. In Jesus' name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2022
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2022 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.