Restoration and Reunion
This devotional is part of a series through the story of Joseph. You can read the whole series here.
If you were to make a list of shocking scenarios, I’d imagine that being reunited with a person you thought was dead would be near the top of the list. I doubt many of us have had this happen in our own lives, but we can think of movies where this does take place.
Maybe you think of The Lord of the Rings when Gandalf returns to the Fellowship after they thought he had fallen to his death at Khazad-dûm (yes, the nerdy specificity had to happen). Or maybe you think of the BBC series Sherlock. Holmes’ trusty assistant Watson thought the world famous detective had fallen to his death, only to be reunited with him months later. In each instance, the devastation of death was reversed by the return of life.
In Genesis 45, we witness a great reunion and restoration. Distracted by the possibility of destruction due to famine and the potential death of the young Benjamin, Joseph’s brothers never anticipated what would happen next. Standing as destitute beggars in the Pharaoh's palace they heard the words, “I am your brother, Joseph.” Once the disbelief disappeared, surely fear struck their hearts for Joseph went on to say, “do not be distressed or angry with yourselves” for he had good news to give them.
Over the years Joseph learned that God acted in the most confusing and distressing situations of life. No less than four times from verses five through nine does he mention that God was the one who sent him into slavery and on to the heights of power in Egypt. His words depict a man who came to know that God was in control. Joseph was able to forgive his brothers not because of some ability of personality or self-will, but because he believed God acted sovereignly in his life. Joseph believed that his God went before him, so he could forgive those who sinned against him. And so he shared the bounty entrusted to him by God.
This chapter is one of the great moments of reconciliation and reversal in the Bible. The hungry go away fed. The naked are clothed. The bereft are comforted. The guilty are forgiven. Such is the way of our Lord and his gospel. In John 20, after his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and said, “Peace be with you.” In John 21, he fed them along the shore of the Sea of Tiberius. In Matthew 28, he clothed them with power from on high in the great commission. And in 1 Peter, we read that by his wounds, we are healed.
Jesus teaches us to trust in his power of restoration and reunion. The story of Joseph points forward to him.
Will Stockdale is a Ministry Associate and cohost of The Will & Rob Show.