After months of torture and mind games, Joseph finally revealed his true identity to his brothers. It was in fact Judah’s emotional speech that moved Joseph into breaking his character.
Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.Genesis 45:3
The brothers were having a hard time trusting Joseph and for good reason, after the ordeal he had put them through. Joseph kept reassuring them of his intent saying it was God’s plan to bring them all to Egypt.
Joseph summarized all that had happened in his life, from the dreadful day that his brothers sold him to present day when he had been made governor over all of Egypt. It took his brothers some time to muster the courage to talk to him, although they might have still been skeptical about Joseph’s motives.
That’s the problem with man that he always remembers what we have done. Even though we say we have forgiven our brethren, we still harbor resentment against them.
The basic principle behind Machine learning is to use past mistakes to figure out the right path. That’s how our mind also works when it comes to the people who have hurt us. We pretend that we are over it, but deep down, our minds are still storing their mistakes and our future actions will be based on this data, and we do all this to avoid getting hurt by them in the future.
However, that’s not the case when it comes to God. He has all the data on us, what we have done from our childhood and what we will do for the remaining time that we have on this earth. Knowing all this, He still chose to send His own Son in place of us to die on the cross. God is not basing his decisions in order to minimize His hurt but rather all his decisions are made with the intent to minimize our hurt.
Pharaoh heard about Joseph’s little family reunion and instructed Joseph to ask his brothers to return to their homeland and bring their entire family to Egypt. He sent his own carts along with them to bring Joseph’s entire extended family to Egypt. Joseph loaded up their carts with the best products of Egypt along with new clothes and provisions for their journey. He even gave them instructions on what to tell their aging father with regards to his missing son.
Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay.Genesis 45:9
The brothers were guilt-ridden about what they had done to Joseph throughout the ordeal that their brother had put them through. But there is no evidence to suggest that they confessed the truth to their father, rather we read that they simply told their father about Joseph being alive.
Probably they were considerate of their father’s age and did not want Jacob to die due to this latest revelation about his sons. He would have surely cursed them till his last breath. As usual, Jacob doubted his sons but his doubts soon vanished when the cart full of Egyptian goods came at his doorstep to pick-up their entire family.
In our lives also, we only confess if there is no other way out. We use our confessions only as a last resort to mend our broken relationships. If we can get away without anyone knowing what we have done, we will gladly take that route. We have built up a reputation for us in this world and would hate for any of our past mistakes to change how people think about us.
In this process of hiding our sins, we forget that God knows our heart and that there is no point in putting on a show for His benefit. We need to come as we are to Him, with our true hearts and true confessions to be called His children.
Jacob agrees to go to Egypt to see his son but before the entire family changed their permanent address, he sought God in a familiar place. On the outskirts of Canaan at Beersheba, where he camped and offered scarifies. At night God appeared to Jacob in a vision and said,
I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyesGenesis 46:4
We know that Jews were slaves in Egypt and that Jacob never comes back to Canaan at least not alive. Then why is God giving his assurance to Jacob and promising him that He will bring him back?
This is the big question that we have in our hearts. If God has promised me something, how can that not come true? And the reverse side of that is, thinking that if God had decided Judas will be the friend who betrays Jesus, then what can Judas do to change that?
Our minds knowingly or unknowingly cite God as the reason for our problems in our lives. We console ourselves by saying that this is the path God has chosen for me and like Judas, who are we to change that. Jacob was promised to be brought back to Egypt alive and while our minds will try to look for loopholes in God’s statement to try and prove that this came true, we know that Jacob never comes back alive.
A five year stint of blessed living was soon turned into four hundred years of bonded laboring. We must not follow God’s initial call and forget about Him once we have found our green pastures. We need to connect with Him everyday to know the plans He has for us and then His word will be fulfilled in our lives.
The entire clan of Israel lands in Egypt and goes straight to Goshen, the place where Joseph resided. At Goshen, Joseph was reunited with his father after more than twenty years of separation.
Israel said to Joseph, “Now I am ready to die, since I have seen for myself that you are still alive.”Genesis 46:30
We see Joseph coaching his brothers on what to say when they are presented before Pharaoh. He is also planning for all of them to live separately in Goshen. Remember that Joseph was not allowed to go back to his homeland to get his dying father but Pharaoh made sure that there were other arrangements made.
These are signs of the invisible restraints that the Egyptians had on him and probably that’s why he was extra careful in introducing his family to Pharaoh.
Pharaoh specifically told the brothers not to bring anything as the best of the land would be provided to them (Genesis 45:20). But the worrying nature of Israel made them bring all their belongings. Perhaps if they had not brought everything, they would have thought about going back after five years when the famine had ended.
Our human nature is to be driven by the need for materialistic possessions. Whether it be the latest iPhone, a new house, promotion at work, admission to a prestigious school/college, our wants never get satiated. Even our expectations from God have been molded around these earthly accolades. We measure God’s worth to us based on His ability to deliver on these ‘prayer requests’. We are so focused on our goals that we have shut out God from our lives.
For Jacob and his family, going to a new land was their goal but facing the foreign rulers would have been nerve racking to say the least. Coupled with the ongoing famine, they wanted to ensure that what all they had stocked would be of use to them in this new land, should things not pan out for them as planned.
Similarly for us, it is our fear of the unknown steaming from our lack of faith on God that makes us hold on to our tangible possessions and forget what God wants from our lives.