Saturday, August 16, 2014

Through what lens do you view life?

Joseph reveals himself to his brothers

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 45:1-20

TO CHEW ON: "'And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now, it was not you who sent me here, but God...'" Genesis 45:7-8

Relationships within families have the potential to dredge up deep emotion. We get an insight into Joseph's at least three times in the story of how he is reunited with his family as we watch him weep.

The first time is just after his brothers come to Egypt seeking food. He recognizes them but they don't recognize him (Genesis 42:8). The first time he meets them he speaks roughly to them, imprisons them for three days and, before sending them on their way, demands they return with their younger brother. Then he overhears this conversation amongst them (spoken in their native tongue—not the language of the Egyptians - Genesis 42:23):
"Then they said to one another, 'We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us.'
And Reuben answered them, saying, 'Did I not speak to you, saying, ‘Do not sin against the boy’; and you would not listen? Therefore behold, his blood is now required of us.'” - Genesis 42:21-22.

He realizes they haven't forgotten about him. In fact their treatment of him haunts them and they are feeling guilty. His reaction: "And he turned himself away from them and wept."

Again in today's reading, just before he tells his brothers who he is he "...wept aloud and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard it" (Genesis 45:2). He weeps again when he meets his full brother Benjamin (Genesis 45:14).

But I don't believe these are primarily tears of hurt and pain. For in the years between when his brothers sold him and this time of reuniting, he has worked through the bitterness, self pity, blame etc. Because now instead of scolding his brothers, he puts the responsibility of what has happened to him on God: "'So now it was not you who sent me here, but God'" Genesis 45:8.

Oh to have a similarly God-centered view of life that cancels out blaming others and instead interprets all circumstances through the lens of God's sovereignty as Joseph does: "And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance" - Genesis 45:7.

As a commentary on this verse in my Bible expresses it:

"Trust in God's sovereign providence. He causes all things to work for your good as you remain faithful to His calling and purpose for you" - R. Russell Bixler,  notes on Genesis, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 74.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your sovereign working in my life. Please help me to view the circumstances of my life (even the difficult, bitter ones) through the glasses of Your providential love. Amen.

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Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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