The brothers thought they had been brought to the house for a reckoning. Fear struck at the anticipation of standing before the most powerful man in Egypt. The man who had thought they were spies. The man who had kept one of them from returning home after their last food-finding trip to Egypt. The man who had sold them what they needed to survive, but also the man who had been short-changed because the money for the food had never been paid, it was still in their wallets.
So on their return trip to Egypt, the sons of Jacob arrived with a bit of trepidation. They had brought the youngest brother, Benjamin, though against their father’s desires–but that was the ransom required for Simeon’s release. They had brought double the money needed for the food needed this time hoping to square up for what they had already received. And, for good measure, they brought a present for the governor of Egypt, the best of their own labors–“choice fruits . . . a little balm and a little honey, gum, myrrh, pistachio nuts, and almonds.”
They came ready to settle up. Ready to buy themselves out of trouble. Yet, when they were called to the house, they weren’t sure it would be enough. And so, “the men were afraid” (Gen. 43:18).
Thus, when they entered the house they fell before the ruler’s feet. And, before he could say a word, they pleaded their case and offered their monies. But then they heard words they could never have anticipated . . .
“Peace to you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money.”
(Genesis 43:23 ESV)
Rather than receive the punishment they feared, they instead were given a peace they never expected. And this, because God had put treasure in their sacks.
Whatever debt they thought they owed had already been paid. Whatever treasure they thought they must offer had already been tendered. Whatever effort they thought they had to put forth, hoping for some goodwill in return, had already been worked by another.
Their effort to fill their sacks was uncalled for because God had already paid the price. Their money wasn’t needed because of mercy. Their gifts not required because of grace.
Though they entered the house fearful of standing before a throne of judgment, they instead were invited to dine at the ruler’s table in peace. Their justified shaking giving way to unanticipated shalom. And all this, because payment had already been made in full–God having put the treasure in their sacks.
Yesterday I figured out I’m not Joseph in this story. But I have been in the place where I could be one of his brothers. My past sin found out. My heart condemning me for wrongs I know I’ve committed. Fearful too at the thought of eventually standing before the Ruler. Acutely aware that whatever I think I have to offer as payment won’t be enough. But then bowing before the Sovereign who has need of nothing with my pitiful offering for reconciliation, only to hear, “Peace to you, do not be afraid.”
Peace, because payment has already been received. Paid in full by the determined will of the Father. Paid in full at Calvary. Paid in full as the Son of God took upon Himself the wages for my sin, death, on a Roman cross. Paid in full through the power of His resurrected life. Paid in full as His perfect righteousness was credited to my account–the treasure of His finished work put in my sack.
There is therefore now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 ESV)
Peace to you . . .
By His grace. For His glory.