Reading afresh Joseph’s reaction to his brothers after so much hurt and so many years had passed, it really hit me just how amazing this was.
Joseph was one of Jacob’s 12 sons, a grandson of Abraham. Joseph’s brothers hated him because their father seemed to love him more and made over him in ways they didn’t receive. Sounds like a huge case of jealousy!
Apparently, the hatred grew out of control because one day, when Joseph was around 17 years of age, his brothers sold him to some Ishmaelites on their way to Egypt. Of course, once they got to Egypt, they sold Joseph into slavery. The brothers lied to their dad, telling him that Joseph was killed by an animal. They even presented his tunic covered in blood as their “proof.” Talk about a tangled web!
Well, Joseph did pretty good for himself as a slave. His boss, Potiphar, noticed what a good worker Joseph was and turned over to him the responsibility of running his household. But he was still a slave! Potiphar’s wife noticed Joseph, too, but for a completely different reason. This young man was “handsome in form and appearance.” Let’s see: young, reliable, good-looking, owned by her husband. Yep, that was enough for her to set her trap for him. Problem was, he wasn’t interested. She was Potiphar’s wife and she was off-limits. Her ego was stung and Joseph ended up in prison. Ugh! This wasn’t the life he thought he was going to have. His plans looked nothing like this!
Once again, Joseph grew where he was planted and this led to him being put in charge of all the other prisoners. Please notice that he is still a prisoner just as he was still a slave earlier. After some years, Joseph was called before Pharoah to interpret a dream he had that none of his people understood. Through Joseph, “God gave Pharoah a favorable answer.”
There is so much more I could write, but we’ll skip to the best part. Joseph ended up as the 2nd in command over all of Egypt!!! The only person he had to answer to was Pharoah. Pretty good for a boy sold into slavery and then thrown in prison, wouldn’t you say?
Some time later, his brothers showed up in his court asking to buy food to take home. Joseph couldn’t believe his eyes. I bet he was adding up in his head just how many years since he had seen them and remembering that day they sold him to those Ishmaelites. Here’s his chance to get even. After all, he deserves to do that, doesn’t he? He’d had years to harbor hurt and resentment. He had the power to take revenge.
BUT HE DIDN”T!!!!!!
Joseph chose not to get even, but rather to lavish love and mercy on them. He chose to forgive. Here was a Jewish man who had lived in a foreign land for years and was even married to an Egyptian woman. But unlike Solomon, Joseph had obviously not allowed the culture of this pagan nation to turn his heart from the one true God. He had stayed faithful and true.
Joseph recognized the Lord’s hand in his life and didn’t blame his brothers, but rather used his power for good. Yes, his tears of great anguish, that were even heard by Pharoah, proved there were regrets, but he didn’t dwell on them. His focus was on the future when he would be reunited with his father, Jacob, and his family. He understood the sovereignty of God and trusted His plan. He “got it” that God was the one who had placed him where he was. Later in life, he once again reassured his brothers by saying “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result…..”
What a different scenario this could have been.
Each day, the Lord gives us the choice to sulk in what we don’t have
to thrive in what we do have
and in where He has placed us for this time in our lives.
God knows the big picture and His ultimate plan is glorious. I pray we will all ask Him for faith to trust Him more – to grow where He has planted us – knowing His plan is always the best plan.
Lots of love, Sharon