Unbelievable Good News

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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"Joseph is still alive!" they told him. "And he is governor of all the land of Egypt!" Jacob was stunned at the news—he couldn't believe it.

Genesis 45:26

For years, Jacob had believed his son Joseph had been killed by wild animals. He never stopped grieving the loss of his favored son. When Joseph's brother, Benjamin, went to Egypt, Jacob feared that he might lose him as well, perhaps even all of his children (Gen. 43:14).

When his sons returned from Egypt alive, this alone must have gladdened Jacob's heart. But then he heard news that he just couldn't take in: "Joseph is still alive!" Where our English translation reads "he couldn't believe it," the original Hebrew contains a more poetic "his heart became numb." Jacob was overwhelmed by what he heard and just couldn't register. It was unbelievable good news.

There are times when we have a hard time accepting the unbelievable good news of the gospel. The truth is that God forgives us, not because of our merit or effort, but simply because of his grace given to us through Christ. We read this in Scripture. We hear it in sermons. We celebrate it in the Lord's Supper. Yet often our hearts are numb. So we continue to live as if we had to earn God's favor, rather than receiving it as a gift.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When have you received good news that made your heart numb? Do you really believe the good news of the gospel? Do you live in the freedom of God's forgiveness?

PRAYER: Gracious God, I love this depiction of Jacob's numb heart. It makes such sense to me that he would be incredulous to the point of fainting. The good news about Joseph was just too much for Jacob to grasp.

There are times, Lord, when I hear the good news of the gospel and just can't believe it. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by your grace and filled with joy. Sometimes I just can't believe that your forgiveness comes so freely, so I continue to live as if I had to earn your grace. So help me, Lord, to grasp the good news of what you have done for me in Christ. May this gospel penetrate my mind and heart. May it change how I think, feel, and act. Help me to believe the unbelievable good news of your love for me! Amen.