Read Genesis 43:1-45:28."Why have you repaid good with evil?" NIV
Joseph starts here really messing with his brothers. What is the reason? Is he exacting revenge on his brothers? Is he testing them to see if they have grown in integrity, humility, and love? Is he proving to them the power he has gained in spite of their actions? Is God directing Joseph to put his brothers through these steps? We can't really know the answer to any of these questions, but we can see the outcome.
Joseph's brothers were humbled; they had become men of integrity; and they loved their father enough to not cause him grief a second time. The tests that Joseph puts his brothers through demonstrate all these traits. It also proves to them, once he has revealed himself, that he is trustworthy to take care of the whole family in Egypt.
In the end, Joseph does not blame his brothers, but gives God all the honor and glory. What an amazing example of forgiveness. Did the brothers sin against Joseph? Yes. But with time and perspective, Joseph was able to see that God had planned it all along. Even with the bad times that Joseph had to go through, God was building his character. He also transformed the brothers through the pain of their guilt to where they even recognized punishment for their crime 20 years later. And most importantly, God made a way for the Hebrew children to immigrate to Egypt.
Could God have gotten Joseph and the Hebrews to Egypt another way? Of course He could. But He used the brother's jealousy and sin to make something good happen. God's transforming power. He's the only one who can take something horrible and painful and change it for our good and for His glory. How often when we have bad things happen to us do we sit around and moan and groan or become angry with others and with God. Some people will even walk away from the God because of difficulty casting the blame His way as they slam the door. The truth is that we must continue to trust God not just in the good times, but in the midst of trouble as well. As believers, we know there is a reason for everything, and God will make good what He will have to be done. We just see a microscopic view of history; God sees the whole picture -- past, present, and future. What He has designed will come about. We just have to choose if we will be participants in the transformation and with what kind of attitude we will maintain.
- Who else in the Bible had to suffer because of their own sin or someone else's sin?
- Are you angry at someone or even at God because of troubles in your life? If you are, you're not alone, and you might as well own up to your anger. You're not hiding your anger from God. But know that He loves you, understands your pain and hurts with you. He will never leave you but walk the road with you. His love is greater for you than you can ever imagine and His greater good will win out in the end.
- Find Scripture that supports the fact that God is in control. What about His character shows that too us, too?