Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of Genesis, which was written and recorded by Moses the servant of the Lord. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters forty-five through forty-seven of this Old Testament book. JOSEPH MADE HIMSELF KNOWN UNTO HIS BRETHREN! I AM JOSEPH! I AM JOSEPH! I AM JOSEPH YOUR BROTHER WHOM YE SOLD INTO EGYPT! BE NOT GRIEVED, NOR ANGRY WITH YOURSELVES! GOD DID SEND ME BEFORE YOU TO PRESERVE LIFE! GOD SENT ME BEFORE YOU TO PRESERVE A POSTERITY IN THE EARTH! SAVE YOUR LIVES BY A GREAT DELIVERANCE! IT WAS NOT YOU THAT SENT ME HITHER BUT GOD! HE HATH MADE ME A FATHER TO PHARAOH! JOSEPH’S BRETHREN ARE COME! I WILL GIVE YOU THE GOOD OF THE LAND OF EGYPT! REGARD NOT YOUR STUFF! ALL THE GOOD OF THE LAND OF EGYPT IS YOURS! JOSEPH IS YET ALIVE! JOSEPH MY SON IS YET ALIVE! AND ISRAEL TOOK HIS JOURNEY! FEAR NOT TO GO DOWN UNTO EGYPT! I WILL THERE MAKE OF THEE A GREAT NATION! I WIL GO DOWN WITH THEE INTO EGYPT! I WILL ALSO SURELY BRING THER UP AGAIN! A POSSESSION IN THE LAND OF EGYPT! AND JOSEPH NOURISHED HIS FATHER, AND HIS BRETHREN! AND ISRAEL DWELT IN THE LAMD OF EGYPT! THEY HAD POSSESSIONS, AND GREW AND MULTIPLIED EXCEEDINGLY! WHAT WAS IT LIKE? DID JOSEPH SPEAK TO THEM OF THE PRISON? DID JOSEPH DESCRIBE WHAT IT WAS LIKE DURING THOSE THIRTEEN YEARS? When you come to this particular passage of scripture you will find the events of Josephs brethren still in the land of Egypt as Joseph instigated some incredibly unique events. If you read the previous two chapters you will find that the famine was so sever within the lane that Jacob sent ten of his brethren down into the land of Egypt to buy corn in order that they might live and not die. Initially when Jacob sent his sons down into the land of Egypt he sent his ten eldest sons, for he believed the firstborn child of his late wife Rachel to have died years earlier. So as not to be deprived of his wife, his son Joseph, and quite possibly his youngest son Benjamin Jacob sent his ten eldest sons down into the land of Egypt. Upon their initial arrival in the land of Egypt we find and read how Joseph knew his brethren and how Joseph recognized them, however, scripture makes it perfectly clear that they did not recognize him. What’s more, is that twice within scripture we find and read how Joseph knew and recognized his brethren, however, they did not recognize him. What’s so incredibly unique and powerful about Josephs initial encounter with his brethren within the land of Egypt is that not only did and not only could his brethren not recognize, nor understand him for he was speaking through a translator, but as Josephs brothers bowed down in homage and respect to him he remembered the dreams he had all those years earlier. It’s quite unique to think about and consider that in the company of his brethren—not only did Joseph know and recognize his brothers without them being able to recognize him, but so also did Joseph remember the dreams which he had dreamed all those years earlier. How absolutely astonishing it is to think about Josephs first encounter with his brethren when he saw them for the first time in at least twenty years.
As we read the words which are written and recorded within these passages of scripture within the Old Testament book of Genesis I can’t help but wonder what went through the heart and mind of his brothers as he saw them for the first time in two decades. What was it like when he looked upon those who had not only cast him into the pit, but who had also raised him up from the midst of the pit in order that they might sell him into slavery. Pause for a moment and think about and consider this reality in terms of how you would react if you found yourself in the place and position Joseph did. Think about and allow yourself to be caught up in the reality of what such a moment would and could be like for you as you not only come face to face with those who stripped you of a token and symbol of love, but also those who dared cast you into a pit without water, and then sell you into slavery. How would you react and how would you respond to being places in such a tremendous situation and circumstance within your life? The book of Genesis and the account of Joseph in this passage of scripture is absolutely breathtaking and captivating, for after nearly twenty years of living in the land of Egypt Joseph found himself coming face to face with his brethren. I sit here this morning and I can’t help but think about and wonder how I would feel and what I would think if I found myself in such a place and in such a position when I came face to face with those who had not only mistreated me, but also those who had betrayed me. What’s more, is I can’t help but wonder what I would say and what I would do if I found myself coming face to face with those who betrayed me and those who had so grievously mistreated me. With that being said I feel the great need to emphatically declared that there is a vast difference between responding to those situations and those circumstances within our lives and reacting to such events. If we are truly willing to be honest with ourselves and with the living God we would have to say that we are great at reacting to such situations and such circumstances—and perhaps even overreacting to that which we face. This is especially true if that which we face directly challenges us and thrusts us into great conflict and struggle. Oh we must truly understand the reality that there is a great difference between our reacting to those situations we face within our hearts and lives and actually responding. To respond rather than to react requires a tremendous level of maturity, humility, grace and even strength, for it would be very easy for us to react to those things we face, and to react in a manner that would not be pleasing, nor glorifying to the living God who is in heaven.
If you continue reading the words which are found within these chapters you will find that when Josephs brothers initially came down into the land of Egypt they came only as ten, for their father was unwilling to send down there youngest brother for fear that something might happen to him and he might go down into the grieve full of sorrow and anguish. As Josephs brothers stood before him in his presence we find that Joseph spoke roughly unto them and even accused them of being spies. The question I can’t help but wonder and workout within my own heart and mind is whether for not that which we read concerning the way Joseph reacted and responded to his brethren was a manner in which e processed and dealt with the tremendous thoughts and emotions that went through his heart and mind. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it must have been like to see his brothers after two decades and to come face to face with his own flesh and blood who would treat him so terribly and so poorly. I read the words which are written and found within these chapters and I can’t help but find and consider what tenet or not Joseph reacted the way he did to his brothers in order that he might look upon his younger brother who was the only other son born unto their mother. Is it possible that the actions of Joseph were not only a manner in which he processed the thoughts and emotions that went through his head, but also to ensure that his youngest brother Benjamin would return unto him in the land of Egypt. The account of Josephs brethren within the land of Egypt would initially begin with ten of them coming down into the land and yet only nine returning unto the land of their father, for Joseph kept back Simeon in the prison in order that he might secure the arrival of his brother Benjamin into the land of Egypt. In all reality—and the more I think about that which we find and read within these chapters—I can’t help but think about and consider the fact that what we read and what we find concerning Josephs actions toward his brothers is perhaps not only a way to process the thoughts and emotions that were flooding and raging within his heart and soul, but also to engage his brothers that they might bring back their other brother into his presence. Eventually when the bread ran out which Jacobs ten sons had brought from the land of Egypt he would finally give in to sending his youngest son Benjamin down into the land of Egypt with his other brothers. It’s quite unique to think about and consider the fact that when Josephs brothers returned unto him he found himself coming in contact with his all of his brothers—including his youngest brother Benjamin who was the only other son born unto their mother Rachel. Stop and consider the scene for a moment as at one point Joseph found himself standing in the company and presence of his brothers and found himself face to face with each of those brothers who had mistreated and betrayed him all those years earlier. There is not a doubt in my mind that the actions we find Joseph taking in the company and presence of his brethren was perhaps not only to workout his own thoughts and emotions, but also to secure and guarantee that his brother Benjamin would come down into the land of Egypt and stand before him.
When and as we come to the forty fifth chapter of the book of Genesis we find Joseph standing before his eleven brothers after having sent them away with his own cup in the sack of Benjamin. THR forty fourth chapter of this Old Testament book concludes with Judah earnestly pleading for and entreating before Joseph for the life of his youngest brother. It’s actually quite remarkable to think about and consider how the forty fourth chapter of the book of genesis concludes for it does so with Joseph making as though he would imprison his brother Benjamin for allegedly stealing his cup and attempting to return unto the land of their father and ancestors. As Josephs brothers stood before him we find Judah speaking in the company and presence of his brothers, as well as before Joseph in order that he might entreat him on behalf of his brothers. It is in this context that we find the events which took place within the land of Egypt in the following chapter coming into light. Before I get into that which we find and read within these upcoming chapters I can’t help but notice and want to point out the tremendous sorrow and anguish within the heart of Joseph, as well as the tremendous meekness and humility he had as he stood face to face with his brothers after two decades. If you turn and direct your attention back to the forty-second chapter you will find that when Joseph’s brothers were speaking one to another about the actions they had taken all those years earlier against their brother, Reuben the eldest brother spoke up in the midst of them when they declared that they were guilty concerning Joseph who when they saw the anguish of his soul, and when he earnestly besought them, they would not hear or listen to him. IN the company of his brethren Reuben spoke up and declared unto them how he spoke unto them and instructed them to sin against the child, and they would not listen or hear. What’s more, is you will find Reuben would go on to state and declare that they were guilty of the blood of their brother, for they were unaware of what had become of him after they had sold him into slavery. Oh, I wonder what it must have been like for Joseph’s brethren after they saw the caravan of Ishmaelites depart from their presence and company with their youngest brother being carted off with them. Did they feel a certain sense of satisfaction when they watched their youngest brother being carried off as a slave which they themselves had sold into the hands of the Ishmaelites? Is it possible that Joseph’s brothers quickly moved on and recovered from the act and perhaps even forgot about their younger brother after he had been sold into slavery. If there is one thing that so intrigues and captivates me about Scripture is wondering what happens and what takes place in what I could “the in between.”
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE IN BETWEEN? Please note and please understand that when I speak of this concept of “the in between,” that which I am speaking of are those moments which take place within our lives between the betrayal and the confrontation. What I am speaking of is what happens in those moments within our lives which take place between the time of the offense, or the time of the betrayal, or the time of affliction and sorrow. When I speak of this reality of “the in between,” that which I am speaking of is what it was like for Joseph’s brothers between the time they sold their brother into slavery two decades earlier, and the time they stood before their brother in the land of Egypt [although at this point they knew not that it was their brother whom they were standing before]. What was life like for Joseph’s brothers between the time they sold him into slavery and the time the famine struck the land and they found themselves needing to come down into the land of Egypt—not knowing that by coming down into the land of Egypt they would come face to face with that one they had sinned against all those years earlier. At the risk of getting ahead of myself I would like to point out that we know in part what life was like for Joseph’s brothers after they had sold him into slavery, for at some point they each married and began bearing sons within the earth. As you come to the passage at hand before us today you will eventually find Moses recounting and describing the generations of Jacob and describing the twelve sons which were born unto him, and the sons which were born unto them. While we don’t know what that first night was like after the brothers had sold Joseph into slavery, and while we don’t know what life was like in the house of Jacob after he had been sold into slavery, we do know that they eventually married and began bringing forth and bearing children into the earth. In all reality, this is the only information we are given concerning Joseph’s brothers in the land of Canaan, for we aren’t given any indication what it was like after the caravan carrying their brother departed from their presence. I can’t help but wonder if perhaps they turned their backs on their brother and journeyed in one direction, and the caravan which carried their brother went in a completely different direction. The story and account of Jacob’s sons is essentially a tale of two directions as Joseph would head in one direction as he went down into the land of Egypt, and his brethren would go in another direction as they would return unto their father and his house in the land of Canaan. This is actually quite unique and quite astounding when you think about it, for while we might wonder what it was like for Joseph’s brothers during the “in between” moments from the time they sold their brother into slavery until the moment they stood before their brother in the land of Egypt.
As I sit here this morning I can’t help but think about and consider the tremendous reality that we aren’t given any information concerning what life was like in the “in between” for Joseph’s brothers, but we do know what it was like for Joseph during those years. We do know that during those years Joseph not only found himself in the house of Potiphar where he faithfully served for roughly eleven years before he was wrongly and falsely accused and cast into the prison where the king’s prisoners were kept and held. We do know that Joseph spent two years in that prison, and that it was after a full two years of being confined to that prison Joseph was finally raised from the midst of it as he was brought into the presence of Pharaoh king of Egypt. What’s more, is we learn and discover that during these “in between” years of Joseph’s life the Lord his God and the God of his fathers was with him and granted him favor in the heart and eyes of Potiphar, as well as the keeper of the prison. Even more than this we learn and discover that during these in between years the Lord blessed Joseph and caused his hand to prosper, and even blessed the house of Potiphar as a direct result of his presence in the midst of it. We learn and discover from these chapters what life was like for Joseph as they were filled with anguish, sorrow and travail as he would begin in the pit before his brothers before being sold into slavery, and would ultimately and eventually be sold into the house of Potiphar. Eventually Joseph would find himself being cast into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held having been falsely and wrongly accused by the wife of his master for sexually abusing and assaulting her. Two years would Joseph spend in that prison before a series of dreams which were given unto Pharaoh the king of Egypt would bring him out of the prison and into the company and presence of Pharaoh. It would be this encounter and this moment Joseph would stand in the presence of Pharaoh that he would not only be raised from out of the prison, but would also be elevated to second in command over all of Egypt—second only to Pharaoh himself. We also go on to learn that Joseph was instrumental in raising up store houses within the land of Egypt which would be used to feed the nations of the earth, and ultimately his own brothers, his own father, and their households and families. It’s actually quite interesting to think about and consider the fact that when Joseph began raising up and filling the storehouses within the land of Egypt—I would dare say that he did not expect that those store houses would be opened and would draw his brothers out of the land of Canaan unto the land of Egypt. It was the report Jacob heard that there was corn in the land of Egypt that caused his brothers to come down into the land of Egypt in the first place. How absolutely incredible it is to think about and consider the fact that the actions of Joseph in the land of Egypt would not only prepare for the seven years of famine, but would also be instrumental in the hand of God to preserve the lives of his brothers, the life of his father, and the lives of their wives and children. Oh how absolutely astounding and remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact when Joseph became aware of the famine that would come upon the land, and when he would raise up and fill the storehouses with corn and bread, he perhaps had absolutely no clue that he would be preparing these storehouses in order that he might preserve and protect the lives of his brethren, the life of his father, and the lives of their households and families.
With all of that being said, it’s worth noting that there were at least two occasions when Joseph’s brethren stood before him, and when he could not contain the emotions that rose up within himself. When Joseph’s brethren first stood before him and began speaking about what they had done to and against him all those years earlier Joseph had to turn himself about from them and weep, for he was so overcome with emotion concerning that which was committed and that which was done against him. If you come to the forty-third chapter of the same Old Testament book you will find that Joseph again had to turn himself away from his brothers and weep for his heart, his soul, and his bowels did yearn and ache for his brother Benjamin. The thirtieth verse of the forty-third chapter reveals unto us that when Joseph saw his brethren and his brother Benjamin his heart and soul failed him, and he needed to hurriedly rush away from the company and presence of his brothers that he might find a place to weep. Having entered into his chambers and wept there alone in the solitude and silence that was contained therein he finally composed himself and returned again unto his brothers. It is this concept of Joseph weeping and being so overcome with emotion that leads us into that which we find in the forty-fifth chapter, for it is in this chapter where we find Joseph bringing an end to the charade and bringing an end to the games he was playing with his brethren. As you study the life of Joseph in the land of Egypt you will find him being unable to contain himself in weeping when he heard his brothers speak about they had done unto him, and when he heard his brother Reuben speak unto them how he had warned them against sinning against their brother. Joseph would again be overcome and overtaken with emotion when his brothers would once more return to Egypt—this time with their youngest brother Benjamin before them. ON the one hand we find Joseph weeping and being unable to control himself because of hearing his brothers speak about the great evil they had committed against him, and on the other hand we find Joseph weeping because he saw and his eyes looked upon the only brother born unto his mother who had died giving birth to him. Now here we are in the forty-fifth chapter and we again find Joseph being unable to control and contain his weeping, for after hearing the words of his brother Judah concerning his youngest brother and their father he was overcome and overwhelmed with emotion. It would be in the context of great sorrow and great anguish that Joseph would speak unto and reveal to his brothers that he was Joseph. If you begin reading with and form the first verse of the forty-fifth chapter you will find that Joseph could not refrain himself before all them which stood before him, and cried out that every man would go out from his presence. Within the first verse of this chapter we learn that there was no man’s standing with Joseph when he made himself known unto his brethren.
Pause for a moment and think about this reality for a moment, for Joseph could have very easily chosen to refrain from making himself known to his brethren. When you read the names of the two sons who were born unto Joseph you will find that the name of one son signified the Lord causing him to forget the trouble he faced in the land of his father and even in the land of Egypt, and the name of the second son suggested that the Lord had made him fruitful within the land of Egypt. It would have been very easy for Joseph to keep from making himself known unto his brethren, and from revealing who he truly was in their presence. Think about it for a moment, for Joseph could have kept the charade up before and in the company of his brothers, and deliberately and intentionally chose not to reveal himself unto them. Scripture is unclear how much time elapsed from the time Joseph’s brothers first appeared in the land of Egypt, and this final time they would appear in the land of Egypt before he would reveal and make himself known unto them. How long did Joseph keep up this charade before and in the presence of his brothers before finally it became too much for him to handle and too much for him to bear? We don’t know exactly how much time elapsed between the time Joseph’s brothers first appeared before their brother in the land of Egypt and the time he actually revealed himself unto them, but I can’t help but wonder what it was like for Joseph after he sent his brothers away the first time knowing that they had absolutely no clue or idea who he was. What’s more, is that even when they dined with him in his own house they had absolutely no clue that the one whom they were dining with was their brother. In all reality, Joseph dining with his brothers—albeit although he did in fact eat by himself according to the custom and tradition of the Egyptians—brings a whole new meaning to the Lord who prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies. Although Scripture seems to give no indication that Joseph viewed his brothers as enemies we find him choosing to eat and dine with those who had betrayed him all those years earlier. It would be after this meal Joseph would send them away and out of the land of Egypt before having them return because of his own cup which he placed in the sack of his brother Benjamin. It’s worth noting that Joseph could have very easily chosen to refrain from revealing himself unto his brethren, and yet the truth of the matter is that it was absolutely necessary for Joseph to do so. You might be thinking and you might be wondering how on earth and why it would be necessary for Joseph to reveal and make himself known unto his brethren, however, if you read the words which are found within these chapters you will find Joseph declaring unto them that the Lord had sent him ahead of them to preserve for them a posterity within the earth, and to preserve their lives so they ought not die and perish because of the famine which struck the land. It is absolutely vital and critical that we understand how absolutely necessary it was for Joseph to reveal himself unto his brethren, for had he chosen not to reveal himself unto them it might very well have jeopardized the lives of his brothers, his father, and all those who were living with them. At the time Joseph revealed himself unto his brethren he had absolutely no clue that they had married, and that sons and daughters were born unto them. This knowledge wouldn’t come until later on when Moses recounts for us the generations of Jacob which would describe in detail his twelve sons and the children which were born unto them.
I sit here this morning completely captivated by the fact that it was absolutely necessary for Joseph to reveal and make himself known unto his brethren, for it would be through revealing himself he would be able to look after, care for and preserve their lives in the midst of the famine. I feel a great need to pause right here at this juncture and point out the fact that even in Joseph’s revealing himself unto his brothers he chose to put their well being and their needs above his own, for it would only be through revealing and making himself known unto them who he was that he could not only reveal what was in store for the next five years, but also how the Lord had sent him ahead of them to preserve their lives. What we must recognize and what we must understand when reading the words which are found within this chapter is that it was through Joseph revealing himself unto his brethren that he was not only able to confront them with the severity and reality of what was taking place within the earth, but also that he might look after, care for and preserve their lives in the midst of the great famine that would come upon the face of the earth. Oh that we would read the words which are written and found within this passage and truly understand that it was through revealing himself unto his brethren that he was not only able to reveal the severity of what was taking place in the earth, but also the divine plan of the living God. How absolutely remarkable it is to think about and consider the fact that in revealing himself unto his brethren Joseph was putting their needs and their well being before and above his own, for he could have very easily kept up the charade in their company and presence. Joseph could have very easily chosen to deliberately and intentionally withhold his identity from his brothers, and yet I am convinced that by doing so he would have been serving his own needs and his own desires. In all reality, I firmly believe with all my heart that it was absolutely vital that Joseph reveal himself unto his brethren, for it was through the revealing of himself that the Lord could begin the process of preserving and protecting the lives of his brothers and his father in the midst of the famine. As you read the words which are found within the opening verses of the forty-fifth chapter you will find that after Joseph had sent every man away from and out of his presence he revealed himself and made himself known unto his brethren—those who up to that point did not realize that they had been standing before the one whom they had sold into slavery all those years earlier. Upon reading the words which are found within this passage you will find that in the midst of Joseph revealing and making himself known unto his brethren he wept aloud—and so loud was his weeping that the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard it. If you begin reading with and from the third verse of this chapter you will find Joseph speaking unto his brothers and declaring unto them, “I am Joseph; doth my father yet live.” Upon hearing these words from the one who stood before them his brothers could not believe their eyes and ears, for they were greatly terrified and astonished that the one who stood before them was in fact their brother.
When and as you consider the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that not only did Joseph reveal and make himself known unto his brethren, but he also revealed and made known unto them the reality that there was yet five more years of famine which would be upon the earth, and that the Lord had sent him ahead of them to preserve their lives. Even more than this, you will find and read that when Joseph revealed and made himself known unto his brethren he revealed something else—something that very few are actually able to speak. If you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find that Joseph called his brothers to come near unto him, and he declared unto them that he was Joseph their brother whom they had sold into the land of Egypt. Immediately following this statement Joseph declared and instructed them to not be grieved, nor angry with themselves that they had sold him into the land of Egypt, for he knew that God had sent him before them to preserve life. Joseph would declare unto his brothers that for two years that had been famine in the land, and that were still five more years in which there would neither be sowing, nor harvest. Joseph would go on to reveal unto them how God did send him before them to preserve them a posterity in the earth, and to save their lives by a great deliverance. As if this weren’t enough you will go on to read and discover Joseph declaring unto his brothers that it was not them who had sent him into the land of Egypt, but it was God. What’s more, is that it was God who had made him a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. How absolutely wonderful and remarkable it is that not only did Joseph reveal himself unto his brothers, but he also revealed unto them that which the Lord was doing within and upon the earth. Furthermore, Joseph would reveal unto his brothers that it was not them who had sold him into slavery, but rather it was the living God who had sent him down ahead of them that He might preserve and protect them in the midst of the famine that would strike and come upon the earth. Oh please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely incredible reality, for to do so would be to miss and lose sight of the tremendous significance of Joseph revealing himself unto his brothers. We know and understand that Joseph was overcome with tremendous emotion when he revealed and made himself known unto his brothers, and I can’t help but think about and consider what it was like as he revealed himself unto them, yet doing so without any anger, without any malice, without any hatred in his heart. It’s worth noting and pointing out when reading the words within this passage of Scripture that when Joseph revealed himself unto his brothers, he did so without any trace of bitterness and without any trace of offense within his heart. Pause for a moment and think about what great grace the living God would have had to show Joseph that this might be manifested within his heart and soul. How absolutely great was the strength and grace of the living God within the life of Joseph that he was able to reveal himself unto his brothers and to do so without accusing them or pointing the finger at them.
The more I think about and the more I consider the words which are written concerning the life of Joseph and his making known his identity before and unto them, the more I can’t help but come face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that when he revealed himself unto them he did so without any bitterness, without any offense, without any hatred, without any resentment, without any malice in his heart. Joseph could have chosen to refrain himself from revealing who he truly was unto his brothers, and yet I am convinced that to do so would have been to actually act in opposition to the living God and the plan and purposes he had within the earth. Joseph could have chosen to keep himself from revealing his identity to his brethren and he could have chosen to send them away into the land of Canaan while he himself enjoyed life in the midst of the land of Egypt. The truth of the matter is that Joseph could have chosen to hold a grudge, and he could have chosen to remain bitter and offended at his brothers in the land of Egypt—even after he had been elevated to being second in command under Pharaoh himself—and there would be those who would feel that he would have been perfectly justified in doing so. Joseph could have kept himself from making his identity known unto his brothers, and he could have sent them away with enough corn to last for a certain while, and yet by doing so he would have put at risk their lives, the life of his father, and the lives of any others who were with them. Instead of choosing to keep himself from making his identity known unto them and serving his own self interests and desires he chose to reveal himself unto them. In all reality, I would dare say that Joseph knew that in revealing himself unto his brethren he would be helping to secure the work which the living God was doing in the earth. Would it shock and surprise you to think and even consider that more often than not holding a grudge and harboring bitterness and offense can in fact serve your own self interests and serve your own desires and needs Would it at all surprise you to think about and consider the fact that holding a grudge within your heart and soul actually serves no one in this life but you yourself? There would be many who would think about and consider holding a grudge and harboring bitterness toward and against others who have wronged and offended them, and yet to do so would be doing nothing more than serving their own interests and their own desires. Would you be offended if I said that grudges and offense are an incredibly selfish act and serve no one but yourself? Harboring a grudge and holding on to bitterness is nothing more than looking out for you and you alone while you take care of yourself alone and pay absolutely no attention to anyone else around you—those who have wronged and mistreated you included. We must understand that harboring a grudge and holding on to bitterness has never and will never serve anyone else other than ourselves, and we dare not be naïve to think about and consider it to be any other way.
It is absolutely wonderful to think about and consider the fact that when Joseph chose to make himself known unto his brethren he realized and recognized that by doing so he would not only be freeing them from any guilt or shame they had concerning the actions they had committed against him, but also choosing to preserve and protect their lives in the midst of the famine. We must come face to face with the absolutely wonderful and incredible reality that when Joseph chose to make himself known unto his brothers he did so in order that he might release them from any guilt they might have carried with them over the past two decades concerning what they had done against him. We know that they came face to face with their actions against their brother when they stood in his presence earlier, for we find Reuben speaking unto them how he had warned them against sinning against the young lad. What is absolutely powerful to think about and consider is the fact that Joseph chose to reveal himself unto his brethren in order that he might not only release them from the past, but also prepare them for the future. Stop and think about that reality, for through Joseph’s decision to reveal himself unto his brethren—not only did he release them from their past actions, but he also prepared them for their future within the earth as they would be preserved and protected in the midst of the next five years of famine which would come upon the earth. What’s more, is that as we read within these chapters Joseph’s decision to make himself known unto his brethren would not only touch their lives, but it would also touch the lives of those who would come after them, for the Lord would cause Jacob’s entire household to come down into the land of Egypt where He would multiply them and make them an exceedingly great people. It’s quite interesting to think about the fact that not only did the Lord preserve a people in the midst of famine, but the Lord also preserved a people in the midst of slavery, bondage and affliction. What’s more, is that not only did the Lord preserve a people in the midst of famine, but He also multiplied a people out of the ashes of famine and in the midst of slavery. OUT OF THE ASHES OF FAMINE AND IN THE AFFLICTION OF SLAVERY! Joseph’s decision to make himself known unto his brethren is absolutely remarkable to think about and consider, for his decision to reveal himself unto them would both release and set them free from their past and what they had done against them, but would also prepare them for the future and what the future would hold for them in the earth. Joseph’s decision to reveal himself and to not hold a grudge against his brothers would extend beyond himself and into the lives of brothers, and even in future generations which would be brought forth in the earth and in the land of Egypt.
The truth of the matter is that when we choose to refuse to hold on to a grudge and to bitterness, we are not only choosing to move on from our own hurts, our own pains, and our own self interests, but we are also choosing to set free those who have wronged and offended us. Oh that we would truly understand and consider the awesome and wonderful reality that holding on to grudges and choosing to retain bitterness serves no one but ourselves and does absolutely nothing but serve our own interests and desires. Please make absolutely no mistake about this, for when Joseph chose to reveal himself unto his brethren, he did so in order that he might release them from any guilt, any shame, and any burden concerning what they had done against him, and to prepare them for that which would take place within the earth. We must recognize and we must understand this, for it has the ability to dramatically alter and transform our entire perspective and outlook on life. Joseph chose to make himself known unto his brethren, for not only was he unwilling to hold on to a grudge himself, but he also recognized that it was not them who had sent him down into the land of Egypt, but it was the living God who had done so. In the forty-second chapter of the book of Genesis we find that Joseph remembered the dreams which he had dreamed all those years earlier, and now in this chapter we find Joseph recognizing that it was God who had sent him down into the Egypt in order that he might preserve life and protect his family in the midst of a famine. REMEMBERING DREAMS AND RECOGNIZING GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY. There is not a doubt in my mind that it was in the company and in the presence of Joseph’s brothers—those who had sinned against him—that he not only remembered the dreams which he had dreamed all those years earlier, but also where he recognized the sovereignty of the living God and how it was the living God who had sent him down into the land of Egypt to preserve and protect life. It is truly wonderful to think about and consider the fact that it was in the company and presence of his brethren, and it was in the midst of those who had mistreated and betrayed him that Joseph was able to remember his dreams, recognize God’s sovereignty and release his brothers from the sin and mistakes of their past. REMEMBERING DREAMS, RECOGNIZING GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY AND RELEASING THE OFFENSES AND BURDENS OF OTHERS. Oh that we would read these words and that we would come face to face with how absolutely wonderful and necessary it was for Joseph to reveal himself unto his brethren—and not only reveal himself unto his brethren, but also work in direct alignment and conjunction with the divine will and plan of God within the earth.