But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. -Genesis 45:7 (NIV)
In our last installment, Joseph’s brothers were headed home, till Joseph’s steward overtook them and “found” Joseph’s silver cup in Benjamin’s sack, purposely planted as a final test. The brothers come back to Joseph, who declares Benjamin to be his slave, and lets the others go home. Judah pleads with Joseph to take him as a slave instead, or else his father Jacob would surely die from grief, having already lost his son Joseph.
Joseph can’t take it any more, and commands everyone but his brothers to leave his presence, and then wept so loudly that his staff could hear him anyway. He tells his brothers exactly who he is: the very brother they wanted dead and sold into slavery some 20 years ago…the very brother who pleaded for his life when they did it! Can you imagine their stunned faces and fearful hearts upon hearing this?
How even evil can be used for good
And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. -Genesis 45:5 (NIV)
Amazingly (as in amazing grace!), Joseph tells them that God had a purpose for them all, even with the evil they had done so long ago: Joseph was to save them from death by starvation, since there were still five years left to go in the severe famine. Since he was now lord of all Egypt, he would keep his family–including children, grandchildren, and animals!–near him in the region of Goshen, where they would survive.
It was a very tearful reunion, especially for Joseph and Benjamin, both sons of Rachel. And upon hearing the good news, Pharaoh told Joseph to instruct his brothers to load up everyone with them from Canaan, and settle in the best of the land in Egypt. Joseph decked them out in new clothes (but gave Benjamin money and five sets of clothes!), and twenty donkeys loaded with the best things and provisions from Egypt. Wow!
Upon seeing what came back from Egypt, and what Joseph had told his brothers, Jacob’s spirit is revived, and is ready to go see Joseph before he would die (he was 130 at the time!).
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28 (NIV)
As Joseph told his brothers, it was not they who sent him to Egypt, but God, who was setting up this master plan. Looking back, we can see how we wove all of this together, but to be in Joseph’s shoes to endure all those years, possibly thinking he would never see his family again, must’ve been devastating. But Joseph leaned on the Lord, as can we, no matter how bleak things look. God’s is good, and His will will be done!
Find out what happens next, when Joseph and Jacob reunite!