Scripture text for Friday, January 22, 2010: Genesis 45:1-46:7
"“Then Joseph said to his brothers, ""Come close to me."" When they had done so, he said, ""I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” Genesis 45: 4-5.
Popular singer B.J. Thomas hit the top of Billboard charts to # 1 in 1975 with the song: (Hey Won’t You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song. The song was so popular it also hit #1 on the country music chart. Why was a song with such an awkward title such a popular song to such a diverse population of music listeners? Maybe because we all have been “done wrong” by someone, and our natural instinct is to relive the hurt and resentment and to cry out, “You’ve Done me wrong!” …by the way another popular song title by song writer, Ray Price. These songs, and the fact that they are so popular, serve to remind us that we more naturally want to build up our resentment and bitterness when someone has hurt us than we desire to grant forgiveness.
Our reading for today finds Joseph’s brothers humbly before him submitting to his authority in their time of need. Joseph has every right to call up bitterness, anger, and resentment regarding his brothers’ treatment back in Genesis chapter 37 when he is left for dead and later sold into slavery. However, we find Joseph’s response to be one of love, compassion, and forgiveness. Joseph’s response is completely opposite to all of our natural instincts, but Joseph identifies that it was not his brothers who put him in Egypt; it was God. Although his brothers’ intent was to get rid of Joseph, God used their actions for the greater good, not only to save Joseph but his family and all of Egypt.
Could God have spared Egypt from the famine other than selling Joseph into slavery? Well He is God… so He can do anything, so why did God provide this example of taking a hurtful incident and causing good to come out of it? What can we learn from Joseph’s response to his brothers in this passage? One concept that I have drawn from this passage is that Joseph’s response did not come immediately after being sold into slavery; it occurred years after the event and sometimes time helps to heal wounds. Furthermore, I believe that God has revealed these things to Joseph, after all he had time to pray and ponder on these events. Lessons from these passages teaches us that when someone has “done us wrong” we should respond by asking God to reveal his bigger plan for us as well as help us to find a way to forgive those who have hurt us.
Devotion prepared by Todd Kelley