“Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another? And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die. And Joseph’s ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt.” Genesis 42:1-3
Joseph kissed his wife and boys and left for what he knew would be another busy day. People had been coming from other countries, looking for grain because the famine was widespread. Once in the storehouse, He checked to make sure all his workers were in place, and ready to go to work. He flung wide the front doors and let his eyes roam over the crowd before him.
And there they were, a group of ten men that he had not seen for over twenty years, but he immediately knew who they were. Looking much older than when he had seen them last, they bowed down before him and Joseph remembered his dream. He had faced many challenges, but this would be the biggest one he would ever face.
Deciding to test them, Joseph accused them of being spies, and when they denied that and said they had been sent by their father to find food, leaving one other brother at home, Joseph put them in prison for three days. Then he told them he was going to be merciful because he feared God. He would keep one in prison while the others returned home with food, but they were not to come back unless they brought their younger brother with them.
Genesis 42-45 records an interesting story of them going home and then returning to Egypt. We will not take time to look at it all here but take some time to read it.
Joseph knew they would be back, and so I am sure he spent a lot of time in prayer, asking God how he should treat them. He had a choice to make. He had the power and the position to treat them badly, or he could forgive and have his family back, and see his father once again.
Genesis 45:4-8 “And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.”
Joseph chose to forgive, and he had much to forgive. But He saw the bigger picture. All that he had suffered because of his brothers was part of God’s great plan. God allowed Joseph to be taken to Egypt and prepared him in Potiphar’s house and in the prison for the position that he would fulfill to preserve the nation of Israel.
We all have times in our lives when people hurt us or do us harm, and we have a choice to make. Forgiving them is God’s way, and although it may be difficult, it brings us freedom. Many times families have been torn apart because of some trivial event that one or the other is not willing to forgive. If you have been separated from someone because of something that happened, you can learn a lesson from Joseph, and choose to forgive.
Prayer: Lord, when you were teaching your disciples a pattern for prayer, you clearly showed us that if we were not willing to forgive others, we could not ask you for forgiveness for our failures. Help us each one to be like Joseph, humble and forgiving.
Devotion by Anne Johnston