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Scripture reading – Genesis 45
Unable to contain his emotions, Joseph cried out suddenly, “Cause every man to go out from me” (45:1b). With only his brothers present, he wept so forcefully that his servants and those of Pharaoh’s household heard of it (45:2). Speaking for the first time without an interpreter, Joseph cried out in Hebrew, “I am Joseph; doth my father yet live?” (45:3)
Imagine that moment! They had betrayed and sold their brother as a slave, but now he stood before them. He was a powerful ruler in Egypt and a man to whom they bowed in fear and reverence. With the authority of a sovereign, and the compassion of a brother, Joseph stated in their tongue, “Come near to me, I pray you” (45:4a). With fear, awe, and dread, his brothers drew near, and he confessed, “I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt”(45:4b).
Then, he calmed their anxieties and consoled his brothers, saying, “be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life” (45:5).
Take a moment, and meditate on the last phrase: “God did send me before you to preserve life” (45:5).
Rather than bitterness, and vengeance, Joseph’s words conveyed a reassuring spirit of faith and forgiveness. He had come to see the hand of God’s providences in his life. He confessed his faith and said, “8So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler [with power and authority] throughout all the land of Egypt” (45:8).
Knowing there were yet five years of famine (45:6, 11), Joseph commanded his brothers, “Go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: come down unto me, tarry not” (45:9). He then assured his brothers, “thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy children’s children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou hast” (45:10).
When he finished speaking, Joseph “fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him” (45:14-15). Imagine the conversation that must have passed between Joseph and his brothers. Through tears and laughter, Joseph conveyed all that had passed in his twenty-two years apart from them.
The news of Joseph’s reunion with his brothers reached Pharaoh’s household, and the king of Egypt was pleased (45:17-18). The king decreed that wagons should be taken to Canaan, and the children, wives, and Joseph’s father conveyed to Egypt (45:19). Pharaoh promised that the “good of all the land of Egypt” would be theirs, and they would have need of nothing (45:21-25).
Stunning News: Joseph is Alive! (45:25-28)
Imagine the scene as an Egyptian caravan came within sight of Jacob’s encampment in Canaan (45:25). Jacob was told not only was Joseph alive, but he was “governor over all the land of Egypt.” We read the old man’s “heart fainted, for he believed them not” (45:26). Yet, seeing the wagons and all the provisions that were sent to him by his son, Jacob’s spirit was revived (25:27). “Israel (Jacob) said, It is enough; Joseph my son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I die” (45:28).
Jacob was content. The LORD had preserved his life into old age and answered the longing of his heart: He would be reunited with Joseph.
Closing thoughts – Take a moment and reflect on God’s providences in Joseph’s life.
While there was often cause for sorrow, in looking back, Joseph saw the LORD orchestrate events that together worked for good (Romans 8:28). He was a teenager when his mother died giving birth to his brother Benjamin. His brothers resented, hated, and would have killed him had they not sold him as a slave. In Egypt, he was wrongly accused by his master’s wife. He became a prisoner until the LORD moved on Pharaoh’s heart to promote him second only to himself in Egypt. Though rejected, tried, and forsaken by man, Joseph accepted the hand of the LORD was ever upon him!
Friend, perhaps you find yourself in a place of rejection, afflictions, and sorrows. Take inspiration and hope from Joseph, and trust the LORD. God’s Word promises, “19Many are the afflictions of the righteous: But the Lord delivereth him out of them all” (Psalm 34:19).
- Why did Joseph wait to identify himself to his brothers? (Genesis 42:7-8; 43:26-30; 45:1-4)
- Why didn’t Joseph harbor bitterness and take the opportunity to seek revenge against his brothers? (Genesis 45:5-8)
- What spiritual lessons can you take from Joseph’s response to the trials and troubles he suffered?
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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