Fearing Payback

from Lynda Lindsey

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him.  Genesis 50:15-17

His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:18-21

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

God, who is good, always has good in mind for His children and He is sorely grieved when sin and evil befall us. Everything that happens to us throughout our lifetime, God, like a master weaver, works together for good. To grow spiritually and to develop godly character, we must trust God with the circumstances of our lives. Joseph, at seventeen, was sold into slavery by his brothers. Over the years Joseph was falsely accused, imprisoned and forgotten, but Joseph never relinquished his faith in God. 

Joseph experienced a dramatic turnaround when he was summoned before Pharaoh to interpret the king’s dream; suddenly Joseph skyrocketed to a position of power, second only to Pharaoh. Joseph’s brothers, procuring grain in Egypt, interact with Joseph; although they don’t recognize him, Joseph recognizes his family. Ultimately Joseph reveals his identity, he and his father and brothers are reunited, and Joseph’s entire family moves to Egypt. After Jacob’s death the brothers, fearing payback, send  Joseph a message asking to be forgiven. 

Joseph’s gracious response reassured his brothers that God’s good purposes always prevail, that God is in control over every situation, and while they meant evil, God meant good. Joseph models God’s graciousness to repentant sinners. God, quick to forgive, allays our fears, comforts and speaks kindly to us, and never gloats when we admit wrong. God provides for our every need, foremost a Savior. Joseph’s life and actions demonstrate that ultimately our lives are not in the hands of men, but of God, which is immense comfort, for God is a God of great mercy and hope. Men, when wronged, may pay back, but not God!