Eventually, Jacob’s family ran out of food and they had to return to Egypt to buy more. They were still afraid of re-meeting Joseph, but desperation forced them to go. Jacob was aware of what they needed and that was divine mercy, which is an important requirement when responding to God’s providence.
Jacob was also determined to act honestly, as seen in his instruction to his sons that they take sufficient money to pay for the previous supply of grain as well as purchasing new supplies. His determination reminds us that honesty must always mark our response to situations and reveals a marvellous change in the character of Jacob himself.
The brothers still found it impossible to understand the kindness of Joseph despite the assurances that they did not need to pay for the previous supply of grain. Nor did they understand the goodness shown to them as a family when they were asked to participate in a meal at Joseph’s house. They still thought he was going to punish them for non-payment. Yesterday we saw that a failure to confess their sin had blinded them spiritually. Since they persisted in hiding their sin, their blindness continued.
Nor were they able to respond appropriately to his knowledge of them when he sat them in order of age at the table. And they could not see why he arranged for Benjamin, his full brother, to receive much more than the others. Even common sense should have told them that only Joseph would know these details and treat Benjamin so differently. If they had taken the opportunity to confess their sin to Joseph, then they would have been able to make sense of his knowledge and understand his actions.
Their failure illustrates what happens to us when we don’t confess our sins to God. We become frightened of his knowledge of us and perplexed by what he arranges for us out of his knowledge. If we confess our sins, we will rejoice in knowing that he forgives us and works for our good.