The Grain Bin of God’s Grace
“Then Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain and to restore every man’s money in his sack, and to give them provisions for the journey.” – Genesis 42:25
In our passage above, Jacob had sent his sons into Egypt to acquire grain so that they could survive the worldwide famine. Joseph was now the Prime Minister of Egypt and oversaw the distribution of the grain to all the people of the land. When they showed up requesting grain, Joseph could have easily retaliated against his brothers who had wronged so many years earlier. But He chose not to do so. Instead he filled up their traveling sacks with grain, and unbeknownst to them at the time, returned their money as well. It is in this kind gesture of grace that we see yet another picture of Christ; for our Lord Jesus had all authority at his disposal while on the cross of Calvary and He could have called upon legions of angels to retaliate against those who had abused Him (Matthew 26:53). But He chose not to do so. Instead He demonstrated grace by forgiving them (Luke 23:34). This snapshot of our Savior is further magnified when we reflect upon the returned money. This meant that the brothers did not pay the price for the grain. It was Joseph who covered the cost. And so it is with salvation; Jesus paid the price and delivers us from the spiritual famine we face. And just as the grain was a free gift for the brothers, salvation is a free gift offered to you and me.
However, there was an underlying motive within this kind gesture. God was using Joseph to expose the brother’s guilt and help them “come clean” about their past. We see this as one of the brothers discovered the money in his sack. He said “My money has been returned, and behold, it is even in my sack.” And their hearts sank, and they turned trembling to one another, saying, “What is this that God has done to us?” (Genesis 42:28). In that moment of discovery, their sacks had been filled with blessing while their hearts were filled with guilt. And for the very first time the brothers make reference to God. This is quite significant because it reminds us of the conversion story of every born-again believer; for one of the ways God reveals to us that we are sinners is by heaping His grace upon our lives. We must remember that it is only when we begin to see our own sin for what it is that we truly begin to see Christ for who He is. And so by causing a famine across the land, God began the process of chipping away at the ice surrounding the brother’s hearts. They had already admitted their guilt (V 21) and they had begun to see things from a new perspective (V 21-22). Now they were seeing all of the things that were happening to them in light of God (V 25). As it is with salvation; God will bring a famine into a person’s life in order to lead them to Him, just as the earthly famine led the brothers to Joseph. And once we’ve encountered Him, we begin to see our sinfulness for what it is, and we start seeing our predicament from a new perspective.
Know this my dear friend; you are simply a traveler in a famine stricken land. And the only way you can survive is to humbly bring the sack of your soul to the King of Kings, and seek out the grain that only He can provide. If you try to purchase it, you will find that your money has been returned; for the spiritual food you need to satisfy your hungry soul cannot be bought. It is a free gift that has already been paid for. Christ has covered the cost. You certainly do not deserve this act of kindness. Yet He lovingly fills the sack of your soul with unmerited grace and forgiveness. Just as Joseph filled up his brother’s sacks with grain, Jesus our brother (Hebrews 2:11) graciously fills up our spiritual sacks. So open wide and feast at the grain bin of God’s grace.