The process to promotion seemed to zip by from our perspective, though I am sure that thirteen years for Joseph seemed like an eternity. After having reached the height of his destiny as second in command in all of Egypt, Joseph’s life from our viewpoint is set to fast-forward. We re-enter his story at a point that is at least seven years down the road…during the famine. Please pull up a chair and enjoy a front-row seat of the scene that finds his betrayers coming to him for food.
As you watch in your mind’s eye, I want you to imagine how you would respond in a similar situation. I want you to picture the people in your lifetime who have hurt you, abused you, hated you…people who have left you in the hands of life’s bondage. Do you see them? Do you see those who have treated you in a way that you didn’t deserve to be treated? Now I want you to picture them coming to you and bowing. I want you to imagine that they are asking you for help. How do you respond?
There is more to this story than be discussed in one short sitting; however, I do choose to scrape the outer icing off for an appetizer this morning. Joseph was a man of godly character, to the point that few in history can rival his integrity. How did he respond in a situation that exposed the open wound of his life?
“So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. ‘Where do you come from?’ he asked.
'From the land of Canaan,' they replied, 'to buy food.' Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. Then he remembered his dreams about them and said to them, ‘You are spies! You have come to see where our land is unprotected.’”
What if he had forgotten his dream up to that point? What if he had become so content since his life had finally taken a turn in a good direction, that he had not thought of the destiny that God had shown him twenty years earlier? He saw them bowing, and he “remembered his dreams about them.”
Of course, there is more to his response that we will get into if it is the Lord’s will, but my heart rests on this aspect right now. The process that had to be endured to reach the fulfillment of his dreams caused the dreams to become a hindsight rather than a hope. The pain of his past had caught up to his present. When his wounds were exposed, so was his memory.
I pray that as we imagine ourselves in this situation this morning that it causes us to recognize something: no matter what anyone has done to us in the past, it cannot stop God’s plan from happening in our lives if we stay faithful to Him. It can only become part of the glorious picture He is designing.
Father, I surrender every past hurt to You. I trust Your capable hands to fashion the details of my life, and also to help me respond to those who have hurt me with Your love and forgiveness. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.