Laying the Foundation

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Before I talk about politics, I must discuss some very interesting biblical relationships.  Judah and his ten brothers had made a huge mistake.  They had betrayed Joseph, the favorite of their father, and were starving because of the famine in Canaan.
Joseph was the favorite of his father, Jacob, whose favorite wife was Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin.  The ten sons of Leah had sold Joseph to slavery in Egypt for twenty pieces of silver. He then essentially became the Prime Minister of Egypt, all of which is basic Sunday school facts. What happens next was only glanced over in my Sunday school classes growing up.
The brothers at the time of famine were living in their homeland with their father, mother and half-brother. Benjamin was Jacob’s favorite after the “death” of Joseph; he gave Jacob energy and strength to carry on.  That being said, the ten brothers went to Egypt to ask for food. Joseph, who had a dream of them bowing to him, knew they were coming and was prepared for them.

There was a series of tests given to the brothers as seen in Genesis 42-44.  When the ten first came for grain (without Benjamin, Joseph’s full brother), he called them spies. He put them in jail for three days. On the third day, he took Simeon and told them to go back for their youngest brother Benjamin.  When they had left, he had a servant come to them and return their money while they were sleeping.
This test of honesty was the first, and you know what? They passed! The brothers went to their father Jacob and were afraid when they saw they still had their money. When the grain ran out they had to return, but Joseph had warned they would only be seen if Benjamin was with them. Judah, one of the middle brothers, had to swear on his life that he would protect Benjamin before Jacob would let them go.  This was because Jacob loved Benjamin and he told them losing Benjamin would likely kill him, so no pressure.
They returned with double the silver to pay their last debts, and Joseph saw they had learned honesty, so he prepared another test.  He had all of the brothers sit down at a feast.  The brothers were seated in age order by Joseph and given food, but Benjamin was given five times more food than the other brothers. This was a test of jealousy.  Joseph, of course, was able to understand the Hebrew the brothers were speaking (he had an interpreter for the group so they would think he was an Egyptian) and he knew they were not jealous of Benjamin, so they also passed the second test.
The third test came when they were leaving.  Joseph had all of their money returned to them and had his silver goblet placed in Benjamin’s sack with the silver shekels.  The brothers left and when they made camp that night, they found the silver goblet with Benjamin’s silver shekels.  They decided to do the honest thing and they brought the goblet back to Joseph.
Judah spoke to Joseph, which he could have been killed for, because Joseph was pretty much royalty.  He told Joseph to take him in the place of Benjamin, thus passing the test of heart but also foreshadowing the New Testament.  Judah, at that point, was being self-sacrificing for his brother, and thousands of years later from the tribe of Judah would come the ultimate sacrifice.  Jesus was self-sacrificing, the perfect ultimate sacrifice to wipe us clean and save the sheep and calf population.
They laid the foundation for twelve honest people that loved each other, and one that would give up his life to save the rest of them.  The disciples, with the exception of Judas, were all prepared to do anything for each other. For Christ and for their cause, the twelve were almost all martyred and Jesus died to save them all. Judah and the twelve brothers teach a lot about life and living with people you don’t like.  There is a lot here about making careful decisions and when you can trust again.  If somebody can prove to you that they have a heart of honesty, then they are honest about their apology and you can start to forgive them. You need to know if they can be selfless. If they can prove this, they can be forgiven.  Finally, they need to have a very real and repentant heart. If they will give up themselves for you or others as Joseph’s brother Judah did, they are definitely ready to be trusted again, just as Joseph learned he could trust his brothers again.  Maybe not fully at first, but in the future the relationship can be fully restored.

That is all for now, this is what can be expected for the time being.  I will be illustrating why we should be like Paul and Timothy in our student/teaching relationship and like David and Jonathan in our friendships.

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