Pray To See the Larger Picture (Part 3): Joseph’s Test

Posted on July 3, 2024

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Pray To See the Larger Picture (Part 3): Joseph’s Test

A sixth question that was not asked in the last post was whether Joseph rested on the conviction that somehow God would bring to pass the unfulfilled part of the two dreams he had, the part of his family (parents and siblings bowing to him).

*Until chapter 42, Joseph hadn’t seen his brothers for years. His most recent memory of them was when they had reluctantly decided not to kill him but instead sent him to Egypt as a slave for life. While seeing his family moved him, he hesitated perhaps to trust himself to them again at least not yet. He had to test their hearts to see if they were still the jealous (their motive for selling him years back) half-brothers who would enslave a son of Rachel.

He provoked their jealousy by favouring Benjamin (mimicking the effect of the many-coloured garment he had) and then gave them a reason to sell their youngest brother out, all to see if they had changed. They had!!!

Apparently, they had lived in guilt and sorrow for years, especially after seeing how Joseph’s supposed death had devastated their father. They demonstrated a protectiveness of Rachel’s other son that they certainly had not felt toward Joseph; they spoke without resentment of the father who had so favoured Joseph; and they were even willing to sacrifice themselves for Benjamin and for their father Jacob
— (*Culled from Dancing in the Desert Devotional Bible)

Beloved, how do you see your offending brother in time? Have you condemned such as ever unrepentant?
Joseph left us the pattern of Christ’s vulnerability to our iniquities, Christ readiness to forgive us when we return in repentance. This is what Apostle Paul spoke to in Colossians 3:13 (AMPC)

Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].

And Apostle John reaffirmed the same in 1 John 1:9 (AMPC)

If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].

*When Joseph finally revealed himself to his brothers, he not only exhibited the empathy he lacked as a young man; he also overflowed with the kind of affection and compassion he must have longed to receive from them. He never minimized the evil done to him, but he was able to see it in a bigger context under God’s hand. Though he had been testing his brothers for months, God had in reality been testing him for years until his trust had become unshakeable and the divine virtue of empathy fully matured in him. As a climax of the many themes in the book of Genesis, Joseph’s perspective conveyed was the kind that God’s elects and chosen nations are built on:

  1. trust in the divine promise,
  2. submission to the divine process, and
  3. an expectation of ultimate vindication in the divine story.*—*Culled from Dancing in the Desert Devotional Bible

How are we faring as individuals, elect according to God’s purpose, in the challenging situations we are facing today?

And will not [our just] God defend and protect and avenge His elect (His chosen ones), who cry to Him day and night? Will He defer them and delay help on their behalf?  I tell you, He will defend and protect and avenge them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [persistence in] faith on the earth? Luke 18:7-8 (AMPC)

Pastor Afolabi Oladele

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