He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers.
When my three sons were children, many days were challenging, especially the days when no one got along. Joseph and his eleven brothers seem to be a lot like my children, frequently disagreeing about anything and everything. In the Genesis account of Joseph’s life we see a family dealing with arrogance, favoritism, jealousy and deception. If we’re honest, we have all probably experienced similar issues within our own families. From the beginning of the Bible, we understand that families are not perfect.
Joseph’s personal story was one of brokenness and betrayal. His brothers hated him so much that they plotted to kill him, but sold him into slavery instead and then lied about it. We have no evidence that they ever tried to find him or tell the truth. The favorite son ended up homeless with no family in a foreign country. He endured servitude, loneliness and unjust imprisonment, but God did not forget him. Over and over, people around Joseph recognized that God was with him, and they put their trust in Joseph, elevating him to powerful government jobs with huge responsibilities.
Joseph had every reason to be bitter and unforgiving toward his brothers. Even though they did not murder him, they took his life from him. Even though the brothers made no effort to look for Joseph, God wanted him to be found.
Because God longs for relationships to be restored and grace to be given, we see Joseph years later, alone with brothers who don’t know him but who need him desperately. He has the power to end their lives or to save them. Revenge would have been the natural response, but in a moment filled with emotion, Joseph chooses grace. He does what he has seen God do for him over and over.
God did not forget Joseph, but we have to remember that He didn’t forget Joseph’s brothers either. The story of the Bible is a story of God finding us in our brokenness and offering a restored relationship with Himself and then with our brothers and sisters. Who in your life needs to understand God’s grace more deeply because you offer it to them?