When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present that they had with them and bowed down to him to the ground. And he inquired about their welfare and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?” They said, “Your servant our father is well; he is still alive.” And they bowed their heads and prostrated themselves. And he lifted up his eyes and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, “Is this your youngest brother, of whom you spoke to me? God be gracious to you, my son!” Then Joseph hurried out, for his compassion grew warm for his brother, and he sought a place to weep. And he entered his chamber and wept there. Then he washed his face and came out. And controlling himself he said, “Serve the food.” They served him by himself, and them by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because the Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians. And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth. And the men looked at one another in amazement. Portions were taken to them from Joseph’s table, but Benjamin’s portion was five times as much as any of theirs. And they drank and were merry with him. Genesis 43:26-34 ESV
You should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness. Acts 14:15b-17 ESV
Pip was a poor orphan boy who was being raised by his cruel older sister. One day a lawyer visited him and told him that he would someday inherit a great deal of money, and because of that he was to go to London and learn to live like a gentleman. Pip didn’t learn for many years who had given him his new life and wealth. When he found out that a criminal he had once helped as a little boy was the one who had given him his new life, he was embarrassed and ashamed to find out who had been helping him.
When Joseph’s brothers were invited to eat a festive meal with Joseph, they didn’t know who their host really was. They only knew him to be the second-highest ruler of Egypt, a rich and powerful man. It must have seemed amazing to them that this ruler asked about their father and about how all of them were doing, and provided such a feast for them. If they had known who this man really was, they might have felt embarrassed and ashamed too. Pip was ashamed of who his helper was, but Joseph’s brothers really could have been ashamed of themselves, and how much Joseph was doing for them after the way they had treated him in the past.
We all are given wonderful gifts and blessings every day–our life, our health, our families, our food and clothing and homes, education, friends, and so many other things. We don’t always stop to think about who gives us all these things. And there are many people in the world who don’t even know where all their good blessings come from. Giving people good things is one way God tells us about himself. Our wonderful gifts tell us about a God who is good and who loves us.
There’s only one way to come to know this good God, and that is through Jesus, our Savior. Our sins can make us ashamed of all God gives us. We don’t deserve to come to God, but Jesus’ death on the cross takes away all the guilt and shame of our sins. Through Jesus we really know how much God loves us and how much he is willing to give us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all your love and blessings, and especially for sending Jesus to be our Savior. In His Name, Amen.
Dickens, Charles Great Expectations London: Chapman and Hall, 1861.