Sunday, January 14, 2018

Through what lens do you view life?

Joseph reveals himself to his brothers

Joseph meets Benjamin (Artist unknown)
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Genesis 43-45

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 was just after his brothers came to Egypt seeking food. He recognized them but they didn't recognize him (Genesis 42:8). The first time he met them he spoke roughly to them, imprisoned them for three days and, before sending them on their way, demanded they return with their younger brother. Then he overheard 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 realized they hadn't forgotten about him. In fact their treatment of him haunted them and they were feeling guilty. His reaction: "And he turned himself away from them and wept."

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

But I don't believe these were primarily tears of hurt and pain. For in the years between when his brothers sold him and this time of reuniting, he had worked through the bitterness, self pity, blame etc. Because now instead of scolding his brothers, he put the responsibility of what had 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. 


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.

Thanks for reading! This year we are using The Bible Project "Timeless Reading Plan" to read through the Bible in 2018. If you'd like to read along in your own Bible, you can download a pdf of the reading plan HERE.

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