The Bible tells us Joseph was the eleventh son born to Jacob, his mother was called Rachel. Joseph’s older brothers despised him because he was the favored son of Jacob.
Genesis 37:3 Now Israel [Jacob] loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him.
For this reason, the brothers sold Joseph to a caravan of traders traveling to Egypt, then lied to their parents and told them Joseph was devoured by a wild animal.
After the caravan arrived in Egypt, far from Joseph’s home, he was sold as a slave, then eventually landed in prison for falsely being accused of rape. Poor Joseph!
This sounds like the beginnings of a horrible life story, and one could think Joseph has every right to be miserable and bitter towards his brothers. But just the opposite occurred. God was watching over Joseph through all of this turmoil. As time passed God allowed Joseph to be discovered as a leader in Egypt, raising in rank second only to Pharaoh himself.
Genesis 41:39-40 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”
Under Joseph’s leadership Egypt enjoyed seven great years of crop production. Joseph stored the grain for the next seven years, which he knew were going to produce a terrible famine. It was during the famine years that Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy stored grain to feed their families.
Genesis 42:5 So Israel’s sons were among those who went to buy grain, for there was famine in the land of Canaan also.
Now what would you do? The power of the greatest empire at the time is at your command as your antagonists, who do not recognize who you really are, stand before you. Here is your chance to get even, to ruin their lives the way they tried to ruin yours. The decision it totally yours – revenge or forgiveness.
Joseph chose forgiveness. He forgave his brothers wrong doing, all part of God’s perfect plan for the world’s future salvation.
Genesis 45:4-8 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! 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.
For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. “So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.
Joseph and his eleven brothers become the twelve tribes of Israel. They are the formation of the nation of Israel. And as the Bible says it is from Israel (God’s chosen people)that His son Jesus is to be born. Born in Bethlehem through the lineage of King David, our Savior of the world would come.
The door to forgiveness is heavy and wide. But as Joseph found out, once we break through that door we find God waiting for us on the other side. Read Matthew 6:14
Is there anyone in your life right now that you need to forgive? To break free of the pain that holds your heart captive, ask God right now to take this burden from you.
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