“Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 8 Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt,” [Genesis 45:5-8].
Like some kind of unbelievably unnerving episode of Extreme Makeover, the big reveal happens; and the brothers are terrified. In a state of disbelief, and sense of panic, they are speechless. “Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence,” [45:3].
The Hebrew word translated dismayed is “a verb meaning to be dismayed or terrified. It is sometimes used when a sudden threat conveys great fear.” Can you imagine the thoughts sprinting through their minds? I don’t think their heads were hung in dismay; it probably looked more like a frantic craning of necks, wondering when tortuous prison guards would perhaps arrive. Imaginations were surely running rampant as memories flooded their minds, along with possible scenarios of the hands of revenge they would soon encounter; there was little room for any thoughts other than the certainty of their doom; that the day of reckoning had arrived.
And into this mental bedlam, Joseph speaks. He speaks of the sovereignty of God Who had all things under His control and rule, Who had gone ahead of them in preparation; Who had actually “sent” Joseph to Egypt. “Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God…” There was no reminding them of their treachery, no commanding their groveling for mercy; but rather another demonstration of the grace God had so freely bestowed. Bestowed in forgiveness, bestowed in sending Joseph ahead to keep them alive by a great deliverance, and bestowed in bringing Joseph’s family to this place of abundant provision! “Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, “God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. 10 You shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children and your flocks and your herds and all that you have. 11 There I will also provide for you,” [45:9-11].
How marvelous was God’s provision through Joseph; a beautiful foreshadow of a time coming when God would again send One to keep man alive by a great deliverance!
Consider Him Who Sent
He sent the Son to bring salvation. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him,” [John 3:17]. As God had sent Joseph, He sent His Son to provide. But this time, the great deliverance would keep us alive for all eternity! And though Jesus would be betrayed and would suffer mercilessly at the hands of His own, God sent Him. Our great deliverance, although a free gift of grace to us, came at a great price to our Suffering Savior. Joseph did not have full disclosure at the outset of what was to come, but Jesus knew exactly what awaited Him; it had been predetermined, and still He chose to be sent. “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know— 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24 But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power,” [Acts 2:22-24].
He Sent the Holy Spirit to teach, lead and remind us of all Jesus said. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you,” [John 14:26].
He Sent His Word to heal and deliver. “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions,” [Psalm 107:20].
He Sent us that others might be brought. “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world,” [John 17:18].
He Sent us with His peace. “So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you,” [John 20:21].
How do we respond to Him Who Sent?
- Consider so great a sacrifice! Have we placed our faith in His Son Whom He Sent? Let us remember the great cost our Savior endured and ask God to grow our faith so that we may learn to see His faithfulness even in our suffering. “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us,” [Romans 8:18].
- Let us depend on His Holy Spirit to fill us; Sent so that we might yield to His leading and bear His fruit. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh… But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control;” [Galatians 5:18, 22].
- Let us grow in our hunger for His Word; Sent that He might deliver and heal the places that are starved for His touch. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied,” [Matthew 5:6].
- Let us overflow with a spirit of thanksgiving, for He considers us worthy to be Sent! Imagine the gratitude the brothers experienced as they journeyed, packed with gifts, to retrieve their family to carry them back to the place of abundant provision! Surely they couldn’t wait to share the great news! May we be so totally consumed with thanksgiving that we simply cannot help but declare how marvelous is our God, Him Who has called and Sent, even us! “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” [1 Peter 2:9].
- Let us move forward, Sent in His peace. When Joseph sent his brothers back to Canaan, he gave them a very insightful command. “So he sent his brothers away, and as they departed, he said to them, ‘Do not quarrel on the journey,’ ” [45:24]. This word quarrel is a word meaning, “to provoke to anger.” Joseph was calling his brothers to a journey of peace. No pointing fingers at those who had the greater culpability in the betrayal of their brother; for all had sinned. But now it was time to let the past go and be sent into a glorious future! As the Father sent the Son, He has sent us; may we intentionally let go of the past, forgiving others and ourselves, and let’s move forward! “…but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” [Philippians 3:13-14].
Let’s Grow Together!