Joseph meeting with his brothers for the second time after 20 long years has got to be one of the wackiest family reunions of sorts ever to happen in the history of mankind.
The brothers who in cold blood had sold Joseph into slavery and thought they would never see him again are now thrust into a situation where they are face-to-face with him.
And the tables have completely turned.
Just as Joseph was at the mercy of his brothers (who showed no mercy) when he was crying for help from the bottom of the pit, it is now Joseph’s brothers who are at the mercy of Joseph, now ruler of Egypt.
The kind of power that Joseph wielded in his position was total and absolute.
He had the authority to decide matters arbitrarily.
And his brothers knew it.
I wonder what was going on in Joseph’s mind the instant he realized these 10 men from Canaan were his brothers.
Most likely a range of emotions were erupting inside of him, but I imagine the most prominent emotion was “shocked rage”.
The kind of rage that exclaims “How the hell could you do this to me?! I’m your brother!! We grew up together! We ate together! We played together!” and so on and on.
Next to the “shocked rage“, there also must have been thoughts of “cold vengeance“.
I don’t know about you but if my own brothers had done to me what Joseph’s brothers did to him, screw it, family or not, all bets would be off the table.
I’d even be able to use Scripture to justify my feelings.
Heck, doesn’t the Bible say “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”?
And couldn’t Joseph’s current advantageous position be interpreted as the work of God’s mighty hand of justice giving Joseph the opportunity to exact revenge on his brothers?
However, Joseph never does take revenge on his brothers.
One commentary I read said:
“At first, and understandably, Joseph thought of revenge, but when he saw them from his new and elevated position, he glimpsed them-perhaps for the first time in his life-as human beings in need of help as brothers. And now, inevitably, he has to think of his father.”
While there may be some truth to this interpretation, I believe there is another much more important reason why amongst the mix of conflicting emotions exploding inside of Joseph, it was the emotions of “love“, “compassion“, and “forgiveness” that won out.
Notice verse 9.
“Remembering the dreams he had had about them, Joseph said to them, ‘You are spies! You’ve come to spot our country’s weaknesses!'”
We are told Joseph remembered the dreams of his youth.
The images of the 11 sheaves of grain and the 11 stars, the moon and sun bowing down to him suddenly appeared in his mind.
At that moment, Joseph recognized everything in his life up until then had been carefully guided by the invisible hand of God in the heavens.
The realization that divine providence had been at work in his life all along struck him with an undeniable intensity.
This certainty, this knowing why God had allowed all the tribulations and trials in his life gave Joseph the confidence to move forward and take the necessary steps to reconcile with his brothers.
And herein lies the secret to overcoming any bitterness or negativity we may be harboring towards other people or events in our lives.
When you know and I mean really, really, really know with 100% certainty that YHVH is in your life working out all things for the good, it can in an instant positively change the complexion of whatever issue you are struggling with.
This is why true believers are the most happy and fulfilled of all people while unbelievers can be some of the biggest cynics and pessimists I’ve ever met.