Scripture: But when they told him all the words of Joseph, which he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.” Genesis 45:27-28 ESV
Observation: As the story continues, Joseph’s eleven brothers return to Canaan with wagons full of provisions (45:21) and greet their father with the good news that Joseph is alive and governing the only kingdom that has grain and will ensure they have the best of the land (45:20). And as final instruction before departing, Joseph tells his brothers not to quarrel along the way (45:24).
Upon arriving in Canaan and greeting their father, as requested, the brothers tell Jacob of all that transpired and of Joseph’s instructions for expatriation to Egypt where they will be well cared for by Joseph. As expected, the aging Jacob revives in spirit upon hearing the good news. But in learning that his son, once thought dead, is still alive, Joseph declares “that it is enough,” that he only desires to see Joseph before he dies (above verses).
Takeaway: There are two takeaways in this passage. The first is of secondary importance and somewhat ironic. It appears that the once naive Joseph, trusting that his brothers truly repented for their past sins, has forgiven them but does not assume they have fully overcome their hot tempers. For us as well, when we forgive those who have harmed us, we would do well to maintain godly relational boundaries, for even though they may regret their past sins, it does not mean that they have overcome their bad habits in an instance of repentance.
Secondly, and most importantly, again, elements of this story point us to the work of Christ. Like Joseph, the beloved Son of God assumed dead, is proclaimed “alive” to his spiritual brothers and sisters. And for those closest to him, “it is enough” to see him before he ascends to his rightful position as Co-Regent of the Kingdom of Heaven. Meanwhile, even though they will no longer see him here on earth, all needs are covered as they journey onward in his earthly kingdom and upward to his heavenly realm, where they will meet face to face for eternity. Hallelujah! It’s the same, today, for those of us who know and love him, and it is enough!
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Son, who has provided all we need: his Holy Spirit who is in us and who guides and provides for us. Would you please help us learn to be content in knowing that we will see our King face to face one day and that he has provided all we need for the journey? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling