This is a weekly guest devotion written by my mother, Estelene. Each week she shares with us scripture and a short devotion to encourage us.
Have you ever had a splinter in your finger? Every time your finger touches something, the pain from that annoying splinter reminds you that it is still there. Sometimes it even festers and causes greater pain. It is only when you finally get the nerve to pry it out of your finger that you find relief.
You know the old saying, “Confession is good for the soul.” It is somewhat like prying a splinter out of your finger. Whatever it is that you are holding captive in your heart causes you discomfort. Every time something pushes it to the forefront of your mind, you feel the pain. When the pain becomes too great to bear and your heart allows you to set it free, you find sweet relief. The heaviness on your heart is lifted and you feel free to soar above the highest mountain.
In today’s lesson Joseph is feeling that splinter, and he no longer can tolerate the pain. His splinter is the secret he has kept hidden– he is Joseph, the brother who was sold into slavery. Let’s see what he does to pry out that splinter.
Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.
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.
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 not be 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. 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. You shall live in the region of Goshen and be near me—you, your children and grandchildren, your flocks and herds, and all you have. I will provide for you there, because five years of famine are still to come. Otherwise you and your household and all who belong to you will become destitute.’
“You can see for yourselves, and so can my brother Benjamin, that it is really I who am speaking to you. Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly.”
Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. And he kissed his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him.
When the news reached Pharaoh’s palace that Joseph’s brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Tell your brothers, ‘Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy that fat of the land.’
“You are also directed to tell them, ‘Do this: Take some carts from Egypt for children and your wives, and get your father and come. Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.’ “
So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey. To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five sets of clothes. And this is what he sent to his father; ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Don’t quarrel on the way!”
So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt.” Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. And Israel said, “I’m convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.” Genesis 45
The time had come for Joseph to bare his soul. He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard. Can you imagine what was going through his brothers’ minds? Here is a man of great power weeping loudly in their presence. That alone would be baffling. Then all of a sudden he claims to be their brother, the one they sold into slavery. That is almost too much for anyone to wrap their mind around. The scripture says “they were terrified of his presence.” It is almost like a ghost appearing in front of them. Their sin had risen from the grave.
I, the curious person that I am, have many questions, which cannot be answered, bumping into each other in my mind: Were Joseph’s brothers reminded of his dreams either by one of them or by God? Were the brothers jealous of Benjamin because he received much more than they? Were the brothers irritated with Joseph because he had kept it a secret and caused them much grief? What was included in their conversations? And the list goes on and on.
What we do know is that Joseph had been reunited with his family, and he had forgiven his brothers. He even told them that it wasn’t their fault that he was sold into slavery. He said that God had placed him there to save many lives including those in his family. He could have said, “Now all of you except for Benjamin return to the land of Canaan and suffer along with everyone else during this famine.”
Instead, he told them to go quickly and bring his father and all his household back to the region of Goshen, and he would take care of them.
Joseph wasn’t the only one that wanted his family to join him in Egypt. Pharaoh was pleased to hear the news. He provided supplies for their travels back home and their return to Egypt. He also told them not to bother to bring any of their possessions with them because the best of Egypt would be given to them.
When the men returned to Canaan and told their father that Joseph was alive, he must have been overwhelmed. Was there disbelief in the mind of Jacob? Absolutely. For many years he had grieved over e loss of his son Joseph, and then he received the news that he was alive. Once he heard their account of what occurred and he saw the provisions and the carts sent by Pharaoh to bring him and his household back to Egypt, he said, “I’m convinced!”
Will Jacob’s eyes look upon the face of his son Joseph once again? Join me next week and find out.