Jacob's sons, including Benjamin, return to Egypt for food. Can you imagine the emotions flowing through the minds of Joseph's brothers as he reveals himself to them? Jacob informed that Joseph is still alive and is the governor of Egypt.
Because of the great famine, Jacob was forced to send his sons to Egypt to buy food again. Joseph, the second most powerful ruler of Egypt, spoke to his brothers through an interpreter. As he spoke they were unaware the ruler was their brother, whom they had sold into slavery about 20 years earlier. Joseph said . . . I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? Joseph's brothers had deceived their father and escaped accountability for their cruel sin against him. Now in shame, Joseph's brothers were face to face with him. And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence (Gen. 45:3). Imagine their shock when he said, in their own Hebrew language: I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt (45:4).
The words I am Joseph struck fear in the hearts of his brothers. They were speechless as thoughts of Joseph's revenge and their execution appeared imminent. To their amazement, he lovingly added: Be not . . . angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life (45:5). He did not hold a grudge or denounce them for heartlessly abandoning him in a pit, and then wickedly selling him as a slave to the Ishmaelites.
One of the great needs today among Christians is to demonstrate the spirit of Joseph. Do we know the God of Joseph when we are misunderstood, unjustly maligned, or cruelly abused? With a heart filled with love, we can say: As for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good (50:20). What a spirit of compassion and mercy! Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them (45:15). Here the offended one showed all his forgiveness towards the guilty. Oh, yes, the love of God is still the same today toward all who, like Joseph, express this forgiving mercy toward those who treat them despitefully.
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us to: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven (Matt. 5:44-45).
Thought for Today:
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men (Rom. 12:17).
Through Joseph's dealings with his brothers. Christ deals with us in such a way as to bring about our confession of sin and a recognition of His forgiving love. In a similar way, He reveals His sovereignty over the affairs of life (Gen. 45:5-8,15; compare Rom. 5:8; Eph. 1:17,20-22).
43:1 sore severe; 43:6 ill badly; 43:7 straitly specifically; tenor he merely answered his questions; 43:17 bade ardered; 43:25 the present against Joseph present-gifts; against before; 43:28 made obeisance bowed low in respect; 43:30 bowels heart; upon toward; 43:32 set on for him met a place for him; abomination detestable thing; 43:34 messes servings; 44:10 servant slave; 44:15 can . . . divine would be able to know; 44:34 evil suffering; 45:3 troubled terrified; 45:6 earing blowing; 45:17 lade road; 45:18 fat best; 45:24 fall not out to not quarrel.
Pray for International Broadcasts in memory of Iva Ann McElroy • Country: Romania (22.5 million) in southeastern Europe • Major languages: Rumanian and Hungarian • Freedom of worship • 69.5% Romanian Orthodox Church; 14% non-Religious/Other; 8% Protestant; 7% Catholic; 1% Muslim; .1% Jewish; .4% Marginal • Prayer Suggestion: Forgive others without exception, and then ask the Lord to forgive you (Matt. 6:12).
Optional Reading: Matthew 15
Memory Verse for the Week: Deuteronomy 4:2