Scripture: So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. Genesis 45:4-5 ESV
Observation: Having passed Joseph’s test to ascertain whether his brothers were genuinely repentant and concerned for the well-being of all family members, Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers. Rightfully assuming his brothers would respond in fear, Joseph calms their anxiety by explaining that God had orchestrated all the events (the good, the bad, and the ugly) that led to this moment to preserve life (above verses). How so? Joseph explains that they are in the second year of a seven-year drought and famine, and, in his own words, “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors” (45:7).
Takeaway: Again, this story points us to our beautiful Savior, who God sent before us to preserve life, a remnant: we, his chosen people, and heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant. Similarly, Christ reveals his identity to us (through regenerating our spirits by the work of his Holy Spirit and the Word). And he speaks to our anxious hearts and assures us that he has forgiven us even though we have wrongfully acted toward him.
So how should we respond? First, with gratitude. Second, by pursuing a loving relationship with the One who gave his all for us. Third, by loving others as he has loved us: extending forgiveness toward our neighbors with assuring words of comfort. And lastly, with God’s directions and help, by seeking ways to preserve life in our realms of opportunity and responsibility.
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for sending your Son ahead of us to preserve our lives, to bring us forgiveness and reconciliation with you. Would you please help us to pay it forward and follow your lead and rely on your strength to preserve life in the unredeemed corners of our world? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling