Can you name a time in your life where circumstance, decisions, jealousy, malice, or someone’s bad intention left you on the outside of something you cherished? It is hard when that happens. Job changes “for the good of the company” that result in your layoff can be devastating. Family conflicts that end up with your invitation to the table being rescinded can result in pain that lasts a long time. Anytime we are rejected, it just doesn’t feel good.
It is in those moments that we need to heavily rely on God’s word to help us through a myriad of emotions and try to see what God is doing in the midst of our suffering.
Today we are in the part of the Joseph story where he is living in Egypt long after his brothers threw him in a pit and sold him to traders. Many years have passed and God has provided Joseph with a rise to power that puts him in charge of Egypt’s grain stores, which he himself had created. Meanwhile back in Israel, a famine has decimated the land and Joseph’s brothers have fled to Egypt in hopes of finding food.
Genesis 45 (Contemporary English Version)
Yes, I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt. 5 Don’t worry or blame yourselves for what you did. God is the one who sent me ahead of you to save lives.
6 There has already been a famine for two years, and for five more years no one will plow fields or harvest grain. 7 But God sent me on ahead of you to keep your families alive and to save you in this wonderful way. 8 After all, you weren’t really the ones who sent me here—it was God. He made me the highest official in the king’s court and placed me over all Egypt.
This is a profound moment. Even with everything that happened to Joseph…all the hurt, rejection, harm, and estrangement from his family…he is able to claim that God was the agent of everything that happened. It was not the result of his brothers’ actions, nor evil forces, nor jealousy, nor even a consequence of intentional harm. Only God could bring about the miracle that was to happen next and this had been God’s plan all along.
9 Now hurry back and tell my father that his son Joseph says, “God has made me ruler of Egypt. Come here as quickly as you can. 10 You will live near me in the region of Goshen with your children and grandchildren, as well as with your sheep, goats, cattle, and everything else you own. 11 I will take care of you there during the next five years of famine. But if you don’t come, you and your family and your animals will starve to death.”
And so Joseph, who was thrown away by his insecure brothers, is now able to save not only his family but all of their livestock from starvation. He makes them the incredible offer to come and bring their entire households to Egypt where he will give them all homes and enough food to live.
12 All of you, including my brother Benjamin, can tell by what I have said that I really am Joseph. 13 Tell my father about my great power here in Egypt and about everything you have seen. Hurry and bring him here.
14 Joseph and Benjamin hugged each other and started crying. 15 Joseph was still crying as he kissed each of his other brothers. After this, they started talking with Joseph.
This last part is a touching reminder of the power of FORGIVENESS. When Joseph was able to recognize that God had placed him in Egypt in order to save generations of his family, he was able to let go of his anger and open his heart up to his brothers.
Where is God calling you to open your heart today? Where is he calling you to forgive a grievance that you have harbored for decades? Where can you see God working in your life despite the hardships?
Make today the day. Make that phone call, write that letter, or send that text. God just may be sending you ahead so that you, too, can save your family.