Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Aug 1 2011 - E100.15a – Gen 45:1-15, Joseph reveals who he is

Joseph has brought his brothers to feel and know something of the wrong they did to him all those years ago. But he has no desire to punish them, only to bless them. Having sent away all his Egyptian officials and servants, Joseph now reveals who he is in an outburst of tears that is heard throughout his house. For the first time he is speaking to them in their own Hebrew language and, in that same instant, they know that he has understood all that they had previously spoken to one another in his presence.

Initially his brothers are too shocked to be able to reply to Joseph's questions about his father's health. But Joseph tells them not to stand at a distance but to come and take a close look at him and see for themselves that he is truly their brother Joseph whom they sold into slavery. Surely this could have been little comfort to them. Joseph whom they mistreated is now the most powerful man in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. Surely he will use his power to punish them for their ill-treatment of him?

But no. Joseph tells them, "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 hurry back to their father and to bring him and all of the extended family to Egypt where Joseph will provide for them throughout the continuing years of famine.

In these words Joseph demonstrates that he really is someone to whom God has given great wisdom; 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 his people.

How about you?

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 feel 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 be the means by which your blessings flow into the lives of others also.

Peter Misselbrook