For many scholars and ministers, who look at Jacob’s family album and deliverance God brought through Joseph, forgiveness is the big theme. Joseph is honored for his great forgiveness. I think forgiveness is a little easier than people think. It relies on God. For me the Joseph record is the story of God’s great love and provision.
The true exercise and action of man is trusting and believing God. Genesis is filled with records of people that sojourned through the wilderness of life, physically, mentally and spiritually, to ultimately find the wellspring of grace that was really right there all the time. Jacob’s sons were no exceptions.
And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father. And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
After all the ways God showed His love during hardship and famine, despite the poor relationships, envy, strife, evil intentions, immorality and lack of trust; Joseph’s brothers still thought in the end thought they were in big trouble and fearful of what would happen to them. Have you ever thought this way? Joseph reminded them how God turned all of it for their good. God is what resided in and kept Joseph’s heart. God was available to them too.
It is interesting listening to ourselves when we talk about God. We may talk in chapters, verses, formulas and quotations, pontifications and special language. We talk fast, slow, loudly, quietly, intensely or cautiously about God. If we listen to ourselves long enough the ‘trust factor’ starts to become visible. It shows in the above conversation in Genesis 50. The ‘trust factor’ is not that we’ve proved every jot and tittle of the Bible. It is about our relationship with God. Bottom line is just what Jesus Christ told us in the gospels:
Matthew 22:35-41 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.