Grace for the Journey

21 So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey. 22 To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five sets of clothes. 23 And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. 24 Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!” Genesis 45:21-24

Joseph loaded them up with provisions, silver, and fine clothing. It was his way of blessing them in spite of themselves.

In a previous post, I wrote that the journey home would be interesting because of the ensuing conversation. Obviously Joseph had thought about that as well because he told them not to quarrel.

You know they would argue anyway. It’s human and family nature to quarrel, so even Joseph knew there would be a lot of finger pointing.

I keep returning to the concept of grace throughout this portion of Scripture. Even Pharoah showed grace to Joseph and his family during this time. He could have been a horrible dictator the rest of his time as Pharoah but for now he had grace on mercy on Joseph’s family.

Are there areas in your life you need to show more grace? As a general rule, you probably can’t show too much grace to people. Even when people take advantage of your generosity, you can show a different side of grace.

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Respect and Admiration from Superiors

16 When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, 18 and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.’

19 “You are also directed to tell them, ‘Do this: Take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come. 20 Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.'” Genesis 45:16-20

Joseph was in such favor with Pharaoh that he laid out the red carpet for Joseph’s family. Of course it didn’t hurt that Joseph helped make the Pharoah a very prosperous man with his dream interpretation. He knew that if he could make Joseph happy, he’d be working for him for a long time (not that Joseph had much of a choice).

In Pharoah’s mind, Joseph was indispensable. It was a nice place for Joseph to be in.

It’s a nice place for any of us to be in.

Many reading want this kind of relationship with your boss. You work hard but the respect doesn’t come.

While we’d like to have respect and admiration from those who employ us, we need to remember that we are not working for the employer but for God.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. –Colossians 3:23 ESV

So, do we do our best at work, knowing we may not be noticed or praised or rewarded? Absolutely. Knowing who we work for makes a world of difference.

And God already accept you.

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The Reveal and the Trip Home

8 “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. 9 Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay. 10 You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. 11 I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’

12 “You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. 13 Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”

14 Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him. Genesis 45:8-15

All is well with Jacob’s sons except the trip home. Joseph was so gracious in what he did. Even though he forgave all, the brothers still had a long journey home and some explaining to do when they got there. Of course all of this is speculation because we don’t know what they talked about on their journey, but they still had to tell Jacob at least most of the story.

We like happy endings. Joseph gave them a happy story in the end. It was the story of how a boy who did no wrong was elevated to a high ranking position because he was obedient to his calling as a dreamer and interpreter of dreams. He took a risk in interpreting Pharoah’s dreams because it wouldn’t have ended so well if the Pharoah didn’t take a leap of faith himself in trusting Joseph. But Joseph knew the truth and wasn’t afraid to speak it to someone so powerful when given the opportunity.

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A New Man is Revealed

3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.

4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 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. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. 7 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 45:3-7

The brothers were in shock at Joseph’s pronouncement. They probably couldn’t believe it when they heard it. But it was also the realization that they had been “busted” and an even worse fate could befall them. But we know it didn’t.

Interesting that Joseph was very confident about his prediction of a seven-year famine. Joseph knew the score. He knew that God was preserving the lineage in a most peculiar way, so much so that people might not believe it if it were told to them. Joseph had no clue about it when his brothers first sold him.

But it took a modicum of faith to believe that God was in control despite him not being in control of any part of his life. What took place in those solitary prison conditions transformed his entire worldview. Even if he had rehashed his life over and over again in that prison, lamenting, brooding, seething, pitying, the ending would have been the same: he was alone there with God Almighty.

Only God had the ability to alter the course of Joseph’s thinking.

And so it is with our lives.

We can rehash hurts and struggles, but in the end, God can help redirect those thoughts if we want to be redirected. It was now very apparent with Joseph that an incredible transformation had taken place.

God is like that.

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My Soul Weeps

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it. Genesis 45:1-2

Imagine if you will being in the same room with this man after he told his people to leave the room. The man begins weeping loudly in front of these foreigners. It’s so loud that the others outside the room hear him.

  • All those years of pent up emotion come streaming down his face.
  • The stresses and ups and downs of his life.
  • Being sold into slavery by his own family, the brothers who he was weeping in front of right now.
  • Being left alone in prison a few times.
  • Sadness perhaps because he missed out on life with his family.
    Joy over being reunited with his family after all these years.

There was quite a lot to be emotional about.

Those who feared him the most – his brothers – would have been even more terrified because up until he spoke, they had no idea why he wept.

Of course his brothers couldn’t console him because that would have been inappropriate. In a different setting with family and loved ones, it would have been wholly appropriate to console.

Consoling someone is a patient task. Sometimes it’s just being in the same room with someone for hours in silence. Words are not always necessary. Emotions ebb and flow as memories fade in and out.

But like anything, grieving and emotional pain are processes that people have to go through in order live a healthy, well-balanced life. If the grieving process is ignored or pushed under the rug, the process will be carried out at a time and manner you wouldn’t expect and not of your choosing. It’ll happen; you just don’t know when.

That’s why consoling those who are grieving are important tasks of friends and family members.

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