The Genesis account of Joseph is fascinating, filled with dreams, justice, and mercy. In a nutshell, Joseph is betrayed (sold) by his brothers, finds himself in a world he doesn’t know-(Egypt), and eventually rises to a position of great power in that land. It’s a “must read” for sure! His integrity and decisions in the midst of being misunderstood at every turn is truly inspiring. Everyone loves it when evil is thwarted and the “good guy” wins. Joseph is definitely the good guy. If you don’t know the story, at one point you think Joseph is totally setting them up to make a case of treachery, maybe then he will have cause to kill them? He makes them look like thieves and liars (that they really are). We find ourselves with a slight smirk on our face waiting for the justice hammer to fall. The revelation that he is their brother finally comes, and with it more emotion than one person can handle. They are fearful, and for good reason. He tells them not to be grieved or angry with themselves…what???? (this is not the expected dialogue), he says…because though they meant it for evil, God meant it for good. wow, shocker! What about their evil, Joseph? What about all the hard things you endured because of them? You missed out on so much. Don’t they deserve to “pay”? What they get is from Joseph is provision, something they don’t deserve? Yep, they get provision. They will now live through the famine because Joseph is there and in power. I think this story is really is a story about God and His sovereignty. You really start to love the story even more when you realize the truth. While everyone identifies with Joseph at some point, (because everyone has felt betrayed in this life and everyone wants to be the one making the right decisions), the reality is …that we are The brothers-the selfish, stupid, sinful brothers. We have failed…someone.
In all of this, we could’ve expected retaliation from Joseph, and even been glad for it. But if we are honest and identify with the brothers, we are so glad for the grace and mercy bestowed on them; a chance to be defined by the present instead of the past, because that is what forgiveness really does. 🙂