Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Feb 7 2019 - Genesis 45:1-46:7 – Jacob moves house

Joseph brought his brothers to feel and know something of the wrong they did to him all those years ago, yet his purpose is not to punish but to bless. Sending away his Egyptian servants, Joseph reveals who he is, speaking to his brothers in their own Hebrew language. In that moment they know he has understood all that they had previously spoken to one another in his presence.

Joseph assures his brothers, "It was not you who sent me here, but God" (45:8). God has been working out his own purposes through all that has happened. Joseph owes his power to the hand of God, and God has given him this power that he might bless rather than punish; "God sent me before you to preserve life" (45:5). God sent Joseph down into Egypt that he might be able to provide for the needs of his father's family during the period of famine. So he urges his brothers to go and bring father Jacob and his extended family to Egypt where Joseph will provide for them throughout the continuing years of famine.

Joseph demonstrates that he has learned the mind of God. He is able to see beyond personal hurts and circumstances to the hand of God which has been at work in his life not only for personal blessing but also that he might become a blessing to others. Joseph is not trapped in bitter resentment over past injustice; he is filled with a sense of the goodness of God and determined to play his part in God's plans to bless and prosper others through him. How about you?

With Pharaoh's blessing, Joseph provides his brothers with wagons to bring their families and all that they possess to Egypt. One nice touch comes with the focus on donkeys. When the brothers were invited to Joseph's house for lunch, they had feared it was a trap and that Joseph would enslave them and seize their donkeys (43:18). Now they are provided with "ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain" to take back to their father Jacob (45:23). What they feared to lose has been returned to them many times over.

As they leave Joseph tells them not to quarrel on the way (45:24). They must not relieve their feelings of guilt by blaming one another; they are to recognise that God has been working out his purposes to bless them – and that they are blessed.

Jacob cannot believe that Joseph is alive and a great ruler in Egypt until he sees the wagons and all the good things that the brothers have brought back. He also sees that they are blessed.

Jacob stops on the journey at Beersheba to offer sacrifices to the God who had promised to be with him and bless him. The narrative again uses his name 'Israel'; he is one who has wrestled with God and obtained blessing from God's hand. Here again God appeared to him as he had appeared many years before when he had left his father's house to flee to Haran. The God of Abraham and Isaac is with him and will prosper his family in Egypt. They will become a great nation before they are brought back to the land God had promised them. Israel can rest assured that God is still with him and is at work to fulfil all that he has promised.

It is not always easy for us to recognise the hand of God at work in the varied circumstances of our lives. It would be so much easier if God himself appeared to us with words of encouragement and reassurance. We need to remember that God has come to be with us in the person of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. All of God's promises are underwritten for us in his blood. We can be sure that if God has given his Son for us he will not fail to do for us all that he has promised.

Father, forgive me that I am often so self-preoccupied that I cannot see beyond my hurts to your larger purposes. Enlarge my vision and help me to see and know that it is your unshakable purpose to bless. You have revealed your goodness and abounding love for us in the Lord Jesus. Enable me to rejoice in your good purposes and to live well with those who accompany me on my journey.

Peter Misselbrook