Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 13: Monday
Israel said to Joseph, “I never expected to see your face, and behold, God has let me see your children as well.”
Monday’s Bible reading of Genesis 48–50, finishes the book of Genesis. These last few chapters record the death of Jacob and end with the death of Joseph.
In Genesis 48, Jacob says goodbye to Joseph and blesses Joseph’s two oldest sons. His farewell is especially poignant as Jacob remembers Rachel, recounts God’s promises to him and tells Joseph that he gives him one portion more than his brothers. The rest of his sons gather around him in chapter 49, and Jacob prophesies the future for each of their households.
After the death and burial of their father, Joseph’s brothers are afraid that without Jacob there as a restraint, Joseph will seek revenge on them for the evil they did to him when they sold him as a slave. They send a message to Joseph telling him that their father wanted Joseph to forgive them. Joseph weeps when he hears this, and his words to his brothers reveal the depth of character of this good man who through years of unjust suffering in anguish never railed against God nor sought to avenge himself, but instead was faithful in his work, submitted himself to God, and forgave them with words that resonate with Romans 8:28, and Romans 12:17–21.
But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
This is why I wrote several weeks ago that Joseph is one of my favorite persons in the Bible. Joseph knew betrayal, abandonment, and false accusation. His faith in God enabled him to live in trust of God’s providence and, I think, enabled him to forgive. We never get the idea that he was able to endure because of a stoic personality: Genesis 41:50–53; 42:21–24; 43:30; 45:1–2, 14–15; 46:29; and 50:1, 17; tell us how very much he had suffered and the depth of his pain. Joseph persevered because he revered and trusted God.
Sometimes we may look around and we can find no one who seems to have gone before us in experiencing some of the things we’ve known, and no one who is able to come alongside to help us with consolation, reassurance, and help in trusting God. God provides His Word, and His Spirit consoles us with the stories of those who have gone before us and who were faithful throughout all their lives. Joseph was such a godly man, and his example has been, and continues to be, of profound encouragement to me.
“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
Détail d’un vitrail de la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres: l’histoire de Joseph: Public Domain
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter