GETTING CLOSE ENOUGH TO MERCY
When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Bring the men into the house, and slaughter an animal and make ready, for the men are to dine with me at noon.” The man did as Joseph told him and brought the men to Joseph’s house. And the men were afraid because they were brought to Joseph’s house, and they said, “It is because of the money, which was replaced in our sacks the first time, that we are brought in, so that he may assault us and fall upon us to make us servants. Genesis 43:16-18
The brother’s history of sin against Joseph makes them skittish. Rightly so. How many would forgive being sold into slavery by a family member? (And it’s happening today all over the world.) Though it has been nearly two decades, to them it feels like yesterday. Though they didn’t know Joseph’s identity yet, their guilty conscience causes them look for God’s judgment anywhere it can be found. They assume that this ruler in Egypt will be the instrument of God’s discipline. While they prepare for hardship, Joseph prepares a feast in their honor. Mercy is not rational.
When I consider my past sins, I can turn away from God in fear. I cannot conceive (though I know a lot about the cross) that God will have the face of mercy instead of judgment.
There’s a new song out by Big Daddy Weave called Overwhelmed. It’s currently my husband’s favorite song. Here is the part of the song that I hear him singing throughout the day.
God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You.
It is not possible to describe the gift of God’s mercy. He brings me close when I should be alienated. He forgives when I should be punished. He makes me a friend when I have proven to be His enemy. He opens His arms wide when I’m convinced that all access to Him will be locked.
Joseph is a type of Jesus. He shows us what unthinkable mercy looks like. My part is to dare to believe such good news. How tragic to run from God my whole life, only to discover that I ran from mercy. In His hands, He holds the robe of His son. He waits to put it around my shoulders. When I wear it, I am as sinless as His Son, Jesus. Mercy not only forgives, it removes my sin completely.
Mercy is free but it’s on the other side of true remorse. Show me the difference between remorse and living with a guilty conscience. Amen