21 When we came to the place where we lodged for the night and opened our bags of grain, each one’s silver was at the top of his bag! It was the full amount of our silver, and we have brought it back with us. 22 We have brought additional silver with us to buy food. We don’t know who put our silver in the bags.” 23 Then the steward said, “May you be well. Don’t be afraid. Your God and the God of your father must have put treasure in your bags. I received your silver.” (Genesis 43:21-23)
Through the Bible: Genesis 43-45
A couple of days ago, I wrote about the mind games Joseph seemed to be playing with his brothers (see A Spurgeon Snapshot: What was Joseph Up To?) I talked about how these tests were designed to bring the brothers to repentance and to root out self-righteousness.
But today, I saw something more: every time the brothers tried to buy the grain, they found their silver returned to them.
This is a picture of grace. We cannot buy grace. We can’t earn grace. We don’t work for grace or pay for grace.
We are given grace. And even when we try to pay for it, the King just chuckles at our pathetic money bags.
“Keep it,” says the King.
The prophet Isaiah records these words from the mouth of the King of Kings:
““Come, everyone who is thirsty, come to the water; and you without silver, come, buy, and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without silver and without cost! Why do you spend silver on what is not food, and your wages on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and you will enjoy the choicest of foods. Pay attention and come to me; listen, so that you will live.” Isaiah 55:1-3 CSB
In Genesis 43, Joseph invites his brothers to the table. Notice that before the meal, the steward gave them water to wash their feet (verse 24). They bring their silver, along with more silver for another provision of grain. Of course, Joseph is going to give it back.
Then, he gives them even more: he gives them his silver cup. You can see this as one more mind game, or you can see it as pointing to Jesus:
Twelve brothers seated around a table (Gen. 43:33)
“When evening came, he was reclining at the table with the Twelve.” Matthew 26:20 CSB
They are given bread they didn’t pay for.
“As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is my body.””
Matthew 26:26 CSB
Their feet are washed.
“Next, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around him.”
John 13:5 CSB
After the bread, they received the cup.
“Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you.”
Matthew 26:27 CSB
And when it was all over, Joseph revealed himself to his brothers (Genesis 45:1-3).
“Then they began to describe what had happened on the road and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”
Luke 24:35 CSB
Beloved, every story casts His shadow!