Garry continued speaking from Genesis 43 this morning. Last time, we left Jacob wrestling with the truth, unwilling to let his youngest son go to Egypt, but eventually he must agree in order to save his family from famine. They took extra things to make up for what they had been given and must have been dreading what would happen on their arrival, but in fact, they learned that they owed nothing; their debt had been paid and they were actually treated like valued guests, being welcomed to a feast. This is a picture of how God treats us. We deserve nothing from Him, but He lavishes His love and gifts upon us. Instead of condemnation, we are invited into His family to become His children and heirs (see Romans 8).
The brothers were, in fact, haunted by their past and what they had done to Joseph (Gen 42:21). We too can be haunted by our past, seeing ourselves as beyond God’s reach and mercy. Ultimately, though, we all have to realise that we are all sinners and therefore all must come to God in the same way through Jesus Christ. All of us are utterly incapable of living the glorious life God wills for us in our own strength (see Rom 3:23, The Message); we can neither look down on others or feel worthless ourselves; we must simply come to God in sincerity and repentance and accept His wonderful welcome!
It’s a sobering thought to realise that all need God desperately, whether they (or we) realise it or not Paul spoke about Christ’s love compelling us to share the good news (2 Cor 5:14). We need to ask God to move us through His love so that we we continue to share this good news with everyone.
The brothers came to Egypt ready to pay for the original grain they had been given as well as the new grain they needed, to find out that the payment had already been made. We too can rejoice that Christ has paid the debt of sin for us and so there are no longer any barriers to coming to God. God does not approve of sin, but He does accept and welcome sinners. We come to God just as we are and by His grace we don’t stay as we are; we are transformed and re=made. We are not just accepted grudgingly, but brought to a feast (see Matt 8:10-11, Luke 13:28-30, Matt 22:1-2).This may well not be seen in this life (Heb 11:35-38); there is, as Aaron Shust wistfully puts it in his song ‘Ever After’ no such thing as ‘happy ever after here.’ Nonetheless, the hope of the wedding supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9) fuels our present endeavours and encourages us as we seek to reach out to those who have not yet arrived at God. We are being transformed into the image of Christ and have much to look foward to!