Joseph Reunited with His Brothers, by Melissa Gibbs
Joseph Reunited with His Brothers, Genesis 42-45:15

 

Great story! This entire negotiation between Joseph and his brothers was a test designed to see if they had changed; whether or not true repentance and remorse had occurred for their crime against Joseph. Joseph knows Benjamin is his father's favorite. He is the baby, and the only remaining child of his father's true love, the deceased Rachel. So the test has to involve him. Confirming that Benjamin is in fact the favored child, Jacob refuses to let him go back to Egypt, even though this will result in Simeon being held in prison. Jacob refuses on the grounds that "he is all I have left". Ouch. He had 10 other sons, and daughters as well. When the brothers are finally allowed to take Benjamin back to Egypt, they have good reason to be afraid. Joseph had been harsh with them, he had already imprisoned their brother just for "suspecting" them of a crime, and they could potentially be accused of stealing, since their initial payment for the grain had mysteriously reappeared in their bags. For Judah to have guaranteed his brother's safe return was no easy promise to make. And once in Egypt, Joseph lays the favoritism on thick; giving Benjamin 5 times his brother's food portions at dinner. He gave them every opportunity to display the same resentment they had shown him years earlier, but they did not. And after Benjamin was found to have the "stolen" silver cup, they had an opportunity to get rid of him as they had Joseph, leaving him behind as a slave in Egypt. But they did not. A beautiful reunion and example of forgiveness follows.


God's providence places Joseph exactly where he predicted he would be (with his brothers bowing down to him...remember the bundles of wheat?). Maybe for the first time in those roughly 15 years (my estimate), he sees God's hand in it all. He realizes why he was sent to Egypt and knows it was God who sent him. Because he recognizes God's sovereignty, he is able to truly forgive his brothers for their role in the matter. Later on in chapter 50, Joseph tells his brothers, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so that I could save the lives of many people", (not the least of which was his own family that would become the nation of Israel). This is a really important verse to call upon when something seemingly "bad" encroaches upon our lives. It is often the things that make us most uncomfortable, vulnerable, and grieved, that bring about the most good in the big picture. We may not be able to see the ways God uses our suffering immediately, as was the case with Joseph, but we can trust that He is working it all out for good.

There was one aspect of today's reading that I had to work on. When Joseph's silver cup goes missing, it is referred to as the cup he used to predict the future. This sounded like divination, which is strictly prohibited in the Bible. Why would Joseph use a "crystal ball"? After doing some reading, I came to realize that there is a difference between having a genuine, God-given ability to do something and a perverted, Satan-given ability to do the same thing. "One of Satan's methods is to take something God has permitted in a favorable sense, under unusual circumstances (as few people have this genuine ability), and then copy, pervert, and use it in an inordinate extreme." God had clearly given Joseph an authentic gift in predicting the future, as evidenced by the visions and dream interpretations that proved true. That is not divination but something more like prophecy. The practice of witchcraft and divination that is forbade by the Bible, is that which is not God-given, and therefore not used to bring Him glory or further his kingdom.

Tomorrow's reading: Genesis 45:16-47-27

About Melissa Gibbs:

 

Melissa is the mother of four boys and the wife of her junior high sweetheart, JD.  He is the President of Joe Gibbs Racing and the son of NFL Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.  JD and Melissa have been married 16 years and are actively involved with Young Life, Motor Racing Outreach, their church, and other ministries.  Their youngest son Taylor is nearing completion of a 3 year treatment protocol for leukemia, which has been a powerful faith walk for their family.  Since his diagnosis, Melissa has been called upon to share their family's testimony with many local churches. Much of her energy is now focused on a huge festival planned for mid May in celebration of Taylor's victory over leukemia and in effort to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer.  If you'd like to check out what she's up to while not blogging, go to www.finishlinefestival.com.

 

Visit Melissa at http://chronologicalbiblein2010.blogspot.com/.

Search by Keyword

Search by Keyword

Copyright ©2009 Victorious Living Publishing House, Wendell, NC
info@faithissues.com