Jacob told his sons to buy grain from Egypt so they could survive during the famine in Canaan. Benjamin stayed behind as Jacob wanted to protect him. Joseph was ruler over Egypt and sold grain to all the people. He disguised himself after recognizing his brothers who bowed down to him. He spoke harshly and asked where they came from (Gen. 42:1-7). God sovereignly arranges circumstances that apply pressure to open peoples' hearts in reconciling fractured relationships.
Joseph remembered the dreams he had about his brothers and accused them of being spies. His brothers addressed their brother as lord and said they were servants coming to buy bread honestly, not as spies. They shared their family background, including the youngest son left in Canaan and one brother dead. Joseph repeated his accusation that they were spies and would be tested by the life of Pharaoh: they would not leave until their youngest brother, Benjamin, would come to Egypt. One brother would be sent to get Benjamin and while imprisoning the other brothers for three days to test whether they were telling the truth (Gen. 42:8-17). One person must take the initiative to determine whether people are genuinely open to reconciliation.
On the third day of his brothers’ imprisonment, Joseph said one of them must remain in prison while the rest carry grain to bring Benjamin to him so their words could be verified and not die. They followed Joseph’s orders and said to one another: “Truly we are guilty concerning our brother, because we saw the distress of his soul when he pleaded with us, yet we would not listen, therefore this distress has come upon us.” Reuben responded with a ‘I told you so’ and saw it as "reckoning for his blood.” The brothers did not know that Joseph understood their conversations because of a interpreter. He wept, took Simeon and bound him before their eyes (Gen. 42:18-24). Ask God for wisdom in devising a test to determine whether the offending party has a repentant heart.
Joseph filled their bags, restored every man’s money in his sack and gave them provisions for the journey. When the brothers found money returned in the mouth of the sack, their hearts sank and trembling to one another, they said, “What is this that God has done to us?” They recounted to their father, Jacob, everything that occurred in Egypt. It became another test devised by Joseph to determine if they would "bring your youngest brother so Joseph may know you are honest" (Gen. 42:25-34). God applies pressure so people see the consequences of their disobedience, which leads to reflection and sorrow over sin in order to reconcile fractured relationships.
Jacob and his sons became dismayed when they saw bundles of money in their sacks. Jacob said they had bereaved him of Joseph and Simeon and now wanted to take Benjamin. Reuben reassured his father that he would kill his two sons if he didn’t bring back Benjamin. Jacob said: “My son shall not go down with you: for his brother is dead, and he alone is left. If harm should befall him on the journey you are taking, then you will bring my gray hair down to Sheol in sorrow” (Gen. 42:35-38). God uses fear to get peoples’ attention so they will consider their bad choices, be prepared to reconcile fractured relationships and take corrective action toward restoration.
If you are experiencing a broken relationship with someone, do the following:
1. Ask God to open the heart of the offending party for reconciliation.
2. Pray for God's wisdom on when and how to approach that person to motivate them toward reconciliation.
3. Ask God to bring necessary pressure to create sorrow for sin that leads to repentance in the offending party (2 Cor. 7:9-10).
4. Ask God to reveal the bad choices, be prepared to reconcile fractured relationships and take correction action toward restoration.