First an update on Larry’s health. God graciously and generously protected Larry and since all the heart tests came back clear, the doctor is thinking it’s stomach or something like GERD related. Larry will follow up with his doctor. We are very grateful for God’s leading to a simple solution.
Now, let’s look at Genesis 42. As I’m reading about Joseph being Second-In-Command of Egypt, I’m picturing the scene and then asking questions. His brothers are about to appear on the scene. But it’s been over seven years since Joseph became powerful. Why didn’t He return to Canaan and assure his father he was still alive? He could have returned any time. Can’t you just imagine the jaw-dropping experience of the brothers as Joseph in all his finery arrived in Canaan with servants and animals, etc? They would have been blown over…and most likely only have been bitter and resentful at the show of ostentation.
We don’t know why, but something prevented Joseph from going back to Canaan. Did he sense God holding him back? Did the Pharaoh communicate displeasure at such an idea? I wish I knew. We would certainly expect that Joseph longed to see his family again, especially his father and his little brother, Benjamin. He could have easily gone back with the resources he had available. Or he could have summoned them, sending messengers.
If I were him, I would have planned the revengeful appearing where they would bow before me, and my prophetic dream would be fulfilled. I would have relished the “So you thought my dream was crazy, eh? Well, just look at me now! I was right and you were so wrong!”
But he didn’t. He didn’t go back and it would seem he didn’t imagine his own revengeful “justice.” God was working, and he was content to see what God would do.
What was needed was the work of God through what occurred as the brothers were imprisoned, faced the fear of possibly sacrificing Benjamin, and other experiences–experiences which were similar to what Joseph experienced.
I truly believe these brothers carried a burden of guilt all these years for what they did to Joseph. They needed to not just understand at a mind level what they did–they needed to experience it at a heart level. Previously, they knew what they’d done but they hadn’t felt it. They hadn’t felt the pain, the confusion, the rejection, the uncertainty, the fear–all the emotions that Joseph had gone through.
As they walked through those emotions, their hearts were molded into repentance and trust in God. And the guilt they had been carrying all those years was cleansed.
Next time, we’ll look more fully into the work God did. In the meantime, think about what the brothers went through by reading Genesis 42 with these thoughts in mind.