For me, the best days are those that begin with coffee and Bible reading. Every year, I read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. And, every time something new jumps out at me. Or, perhaps it isn’t new, maybe I’ve forgotten the impact since the previous year. J
Today, I was reading in Genesis, chapter forty-three, and was moved to tears when Joseph had to leave the room to weep. He is facing all of his brothers, after years apart. He’s seeing his younger brother Benjamin for the first time in many years. Joseph is so overcome with emotion that he goes to his chamber to weep because he doesn’t want to become emotional in front of the very brothers who have no idea who he is.
The lead up to this point in Joseph’s story is that his older brothers planned to kill him, but instead sold him into slavery in Egypt. They told their father a wild animal must have killed Joseph and took his coat, covered in goat’s blood, as proof.
When famine comes to the land, Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to buy grain. He doesn’t realize Joseph is now second-in-command in Egypt. The brothers face Joseph in chapter forty-two, but they don’t recognize him. He knows them though, and I can only imagine how he feels face-to-face with the very ones who plotted to destroy him.
I found it interesting that in Genesis 42:11, the brothers still are hiding what they did to Joseph. When they tell Joseph who they are, they mention they are (1) one man’s sons (truth), (2) honest men (lie), and (3) not spies (truth). They couched the lie between two pieces of truth, never realizing they were in front of the one person who would comprehend their falsehood.
Joseph treats them a little harshly as he sends them home and demands to see their younger brother, keeping one of them in prison to guarantee their return. Then, when they must come to Egypt for more grain, they are still unaware who Joseph is—but he is so very aware of them.
When Joseph leaves the room to go to his chambers and weep, I too began to cry. My heart ached for this man and all he’d endured. I also ached for his brothers. Why would I do that? Why would I weep at all?
- Like Joseph, I have been poorly treated by others. No, I haven’t been sold into slavery, or had anyone plan to murder me. (Not that I know of anyway.) But, I have been hurt deeply by someone who never admitted to the pain they caused me. Just as Joseph’s brothers did, this person hid the fact of what they’d done, even to the point of deceiving themselves. This left me to learn forgiveness in a way I would never have faced otherwise.
I am sure some of you also have faced this level of hurt. Many times, I’ve been in bed at night, and God has brought to mind Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry and do not sin. Do not let the sun go down on your wrath.”I may have been suffering hurt, but hurt leads to anger and many other negative emotions. I needed to let go and forgive, not for the other person as much as for my own peace of mind and physical health.
- The other reason I wept had to do with Joseph’s brothers. Why? Because I have been in their shoes too. No, I haven’t murdered anyone or sold anyone, but I have done some things I am not proud of, and that are sinful in nature. Sin is sin. And, I’ve tried to cover up those embarrassing things, even hiding them from God. As if.
I’ve had to realize that I am a sinner saved by God. (Romans 3:23) And, I do know that God sees me wherever I am. (Psalms 139:1-12) I must be as honest with God as possible. I must be open in all that I think and do. Others may not see my sin, but He does. He is waiting for forgive, but I have to admit that sin and ask for the forgiveness.
If you know the story of Joseph, you know the beautiful ending. He reveals himself to his brothers. They return to bring their father, Jacob, or Israel, to Egypt. After Jacob dies, the brothers are fearful of what Joseph will do to them. In Genesis chapter fifty, we see the brothers still haven’t changed. They send a servant to Joseph and lie to him once again, saying their father asked that he forgive them for what they had done to him.
God’s grace and mercy shine through as Joseph tells them, “…You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” Those words resonate for me.
Has God allowed me to face the hurts and wounds from others because He meant them for good? Yes, I believe so. I may not be in charge of saving thousands of people as Joseph did, but I am grateful that God would allow me to grow through these experiences, no matter how difficult they are.
This is why I wept along with Joseph. For him. For his brothers. For me. For us today. Consider letting scripture speak to you and weep.