Here at the end of the story of Genesis Jacob is near death. His life has been blessed and he has lived 17 years in the land of plenty. But upon his deathbed he calls all of his sons before him and does something unexpected to everyone. First an adoption. Then a blessing. Many blessings in fact. What can we pull from this without getting distracted?
What do the stages of grief have to do with Christmas? How can going through a significant life change cause a person to jump to conclusions and hurt those closest to them? Is it possible that a lie has been perpetrated on the people of God, and that both sides of the Christmas debate suffer from this lie? To discover the truth, we must go to the sources.
Unity has been achieved. The family of Jacob is reunited once again and finally, Jacob has found peace. His lost son has been returned, he has been granted security, not just physically, but financially, and all is well! But the famine still rages around them. The rest of the world is not yet safe. There is a transaction that must take place. The cost? Your life.
The test has reached its climax, but what possible defense can Judah offer for the release of his brother Benjamin? The same solution that has been present in scripture since the beginning. Covenant. The keeping of covenant supersedes all other concerns. And it is this that finally convinces Joseph of the change that has occurred in his brother’s lives.
The first challenge that Joseph laid before his brothers has been completed. They have returned with Benjamin, and now begins a test. Can the brothers handle being shamed? Will they sit idly by while Benjamin is honored above them? What will they do when Benjamin is charged with a crime? Have they truly changed, or is there jealousy and division lurking just beneath the surface?