January 18 | Daily Devotion

If you plan to read every verse of Scripture this year, use the  Lectio Continua (continuous reading) passages. The Lectio Semi-continua (shorter reading) is an abbreviated selection of verses from the day’s passages. Lectio Divina (divine reading) is Pastor Lionel Young’s commentary on the daily readings. See the Resources page on the Lectio Divina website for additional study helps.

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina (meditation on the text)

“And may God grant you mercy before the man so that he will let your other brother and Benjamin come back with you. As for me, if I am bereaved, I am bereaved.” ~Genesis 43:14

There are two practical take-aways from today’s reading, one for each side of the interaction between Joseph and his brothers. First, it is clear that Joseph doesn’t trust his brothers immediately. After all, they once hated him enough to kill him, and he had no reason to think them changed. If he reveals his identity at the outset, of course they will say sorry, but Joseph needs time to see the true condition of his brothers’ hearts. Self-preservation demands a show of repentance!

It’s always hard to know when to let someone who has hurt you back into your life. God’s Word commands us to forgive and to show kindness to those who have wronged us (Matt. 6:14, Luke 6:28). But this doesn’t mean that we should naively open our lives to people (friends or family) who have done things that are extremely painful. There are no easy answers here, which means that wisdom is required. If you are struggling with something like this, invite a wise Christian friend to help you think through the best way to move forward.

The second lesson from this confrontation between the sons of Jacob is planted in the minds of Joseph’s brothers before they return to him. Joseph’s father, Jacob, believes that God has the power to change even the heart of Pharaoh’s second-in-command. That’s why he sends his sons to Egypt with a blessing: “May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man” (Gen. 43:14). Even a king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord (Prov. 21:1). God did such a work in Joseph’s heart that he shows mercy in ways far beyond anything Jacob could have envisioned.

Perhaps you are faced with a similar situation wherein you need mercy from the boss or the board or some person to whom you are beholden. This is something to bring to God in prayer with the confidence that He can sway the hearts of men. You also must take the necessary steps to receive what you want or need. Jacob prayed for mercy and sent his boys back to ask for help. May God grant you mercy today, and bless you for your good and His glory.

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.