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An Abundance of Grace (Genesis 43:16-23)

July 21, 2021 | by: Gregg Hunter | 0 comments

Posted in: Genesis 43

Have you ever heard the expression, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”? Personally, I’ve never had any reason to catch flies and I don’t know where this expression comes from. But my mom would use it to remind me to be nice to people. She would say this to me when I was frustrated that my little sister wouldn’t do what I wanted her to do (which happened a lot!). Rather than ordering my sister around or being harsh with her, my mom would encourage me to be nice to my sister in order to motivate her to do what I wanted. I could catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Joseph learns this truth when he sees his brothers’ reaction to his abundance of grace.


Please read Genesis 43:16-23.

Joseph’s brothers are given a tremendous gift by being invited into the governor’s house for a feast. In the face of this abundance of grace, they are filled with fear and remorse. They immediately confess their supposed sin, repent, and try to make restitution--actions they have never taken regarding their sin of selling their brother into slavery.

Why was this different? Why did these brothers show such repentance now? Because they were overwhelmed by the governor’s grace (they didn’t yet know that it was Joseph). They thought they were guilty of stealing, but instead of getting punished, they are invited to a feast! 

Our natural response to an abundance of grace is a feeling of unworthiness. We have an innate sense of our own worth, and we shy away from people giving us too much. For instance, we are grateful when someone gives us an unexpected gift, but if that gift is too lavish, we try to give it back. We know what we deserve and don’t want more than that.

But God showers us with gifts. God gives us far more than we deserve--far more than we could ever imagine. Some react to the grace of God with awe, but when most people hear about the grace of God, they react with fear. We know what we are worth, and we know that we don’t deserve all that God offers to us. So, when we hear of the grace of God, we have to make one of two responses: either we refuse to accept God’s gift (by doubting, ignoring, or rebelling against it) OR we humble ourselves, repent of our sin, and thank God for giving us far more than we deserve.

Honestly, the second response is harder than the first. We know internally what we are worth, but we don’t want to have to admit it out loud. Yet, when we do, we find the truth that is revealed throughout Scripture to be true for our lives as well: God gives grace to the humble. In fact, He gives an abundance of grace.