4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping.7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.9 Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11 I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’
There are so many emotions expressed in these passages. Joseph was overjoyed to see his brothers even though they had wronged him so harshly. They were fearful, ashamed, and more than embarrassed when they realized this was their brother they had sold into slavery and how they led their father to believe he was dead.
Joseph could have chosen to be vengeful. He had the power to have them jailed or even killed, but God had shown him His purpose for the pain. Instead of placing blame he chose to give God praise. “But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” He could have chosen retribution, but he chose forgiveness. “You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have.”
If I am honest with myself, I do not always choose this same path of forgiveness. Call it pride or whatever, but I struggle not to hold on to my hurt or my desire to give back the same pain I was given. May I look back at people like Joseph and ask God to help me grow to be more forgiving like him.
Dear Lord, Please help me to keep my focus on you. Thank you for the presence of the Holy Spirit for guidance and comfort in times of trouble. Let me abide in you so that I may see your hand in events, relationships, and hardships so that I can choose praise and forgiveness when the world cries out for hate and revenge. Time and time again you provide a way where there is no way. All glory and honor be to you. Thank you for the example and love of Jesus in whom we pray, Amen