Happily, our sermon series based on the Joseph narrative continues. This Sunday I plan to discuss Genesis 45, so I thought I would fill-in-the-gaps this week through a blog entry or two. The last time we saw Joseph, he had exchanged his prison rags for royal clothes, as he was appointed governor of Egypt. What a remarkable turn of events! We discussed how his dreams were coming true after all, as he has been given power and authority. In chapter 42, this fulfillment becomes even more apparent as his brothers bow down to him. The famine has also hit the land of Canaan, so they travel to Egypt to buy grain. In my opinion, the fact that they encounter Joseph at the market points to God’s divine intervention, for I’m sure that he didn’t serve every foreign customer that came along. So once again in this story, the theme of divine sovereignty (that God is in charge of the world) is prominent. But so is the theme of divine retribution (that we are punished for our sins). Joseph is rather hard on his brothers in this story. As a result, Reuben concludes that God is punishing them for the way they treated Joseph years ago. Is he correct? It’s hard to say, but it’s encouraging to see the brothers acknowledge their sin and take some responsibility for it. Obviously they have all grown up and are trying to do what’s right. Joseph observes this maturity, and softens his heart toward them–even giving back the money they used to buy food, perhaps in an effort to take care of his family. As the chapter ends, we are left to wonder if the brothers will man-up and do the right thing and return with Benjamin.