For your servant became a pledge of safety for the boy to my father, saying, “If I do not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father all my life.” Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers. For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would find my father.” (Genesis 44:32-34 ESV)
Judah is interceding on behalf of Benjamin to Joseph (unknowingly). As they were returning home with gain, Benjamin is caught with stolen goods and condemned to slavery. But Judah humbly comes before Joseph, admitting that God has found out their guilt (likely a reference to their treatment of Joseph years ago), and pleads that he be allowed to take Benjamin’s place. This is a very different Judah from the man who sold Joseph into slavery. He has learned the sorrow of his sin, recognized the justice in their treatment, and now is ready to sacrifice for the sake of others. Joseph has been God’s instrument in bringing this about.
What strikes this morning is the love behind his sacrifice. I’m sure that he loved Benjamin, but it is his love for his father that brings it about. “I fear to see the evil that would find my father.” It reminds me that we too are to live self-sacrificial lives for others. While we might have affection for these others, it is ultimately our love for God that drives is. We are called to sacrifice for others not primarily because we love these others but because God loves them, and we love God. This helps me to be more willing to sacrifice for those I don’t know or don’t have much affection for.
Lord, may your love be my motivation for living self-sacrificially for others; both your love for me (you sacrificed for me) and your love for those for whom I am called to sacrifice.