After Joseph’s prophetic interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph becomes the most influential man in Egypt second only to Pharaoh himself (Gen 41:40-41). God has given Joseph a clear vision of the future and a plan to thrive during the famine. Of course, God has plans for the effects of this famine to not just be environmental. God will use the famine to fulfill His purposes in the lives of Joseph and his whole family. The famine is what brings ten of Joseph’s brothers to Egypt to buy food to take back to their family in Canaan. It is here that God moves in a big way in all their lives:
About 20 years had passed since they had last seen one another. It had to have been difficult for Joseph to see his brothers again after their betrayal. I imagine that a flood of emotions went through his heart as they bowed before him to request food from him. Certainly, Joseph remembered his earlier dreams (Gen 37:5-11) and seen this as a fulfilment of that prophecy. But, Joseph doesn’t use his newly found power for vengeance. Rather, he seeks restoration with his family because he was a Godly man and he knew that was what God desired (v.18). He sets a plan in motion that will eventually reunite his family and bring glory to The Lord.
That is the main thing that sticks out to me about Joseph in this passage: His desire to bring glory to God over getting pay back on his brothers. He certainly had the power to do with his brothers whatever he wished, and he had a right to for what they had done to him. But, Joseph had a heart after God and chose forgiveness and reconciliation over vengeance.
Sometimes forgiving someone is the most difficult when you feel you have “the right” not to forgive them. However, the extent by which we are to forgive others is not measured by whether or not they deserve it. The measurement by which we are to extend forgiveness to others is the extent of forgiveness we have received through Christ. We didn’t deserve His forgiveness, we didn’t deserve our debt to be paid, and we didn’t deserve reconciliation to God, but that exactly what we receive through Jesus’ sacrifice applied to our lives.
If you’re struggling to forgive someone today who you may feel justified in not forgiving; remember how much you’ve been forgiven in Christ and seek reconciliation with that person not vengeance.
By: Matt Mofield