Key Verse: “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.”
AS THE FAMINE CONTINUED, it was necessary for Joseph’s brethren to visit Egypt once again to obtain food. Since they were advised no more grain could be purchased unless Joseph’s younger brother accompanied them, after Judah promised he would be responsible for Benjamin’s safe return to Canaan, Jacob relented and allowed him to journey to Egypt.—Gen. 43:1-13
After their arrival, Joseph arranged for all of his brothers to feast with him, although because of his exalted position in Egypt, they still did not recognize him. He was interested in determining whether they had shown any remorse for having sold him into slavery many years ago which had resulted in excruciating sorrow for their father, Jacob. Accordingly, Joseph devised a test whereby a silver cup was planted in Benjamin’s sack of grain as they headed back to Canaan. Then they were overtaken and Benjamin was accused of theft and required to remain in Egypt. At this point, Judah pleaded for Benjamin’s safe return home because of the effect it would have upon Jacob if he did not accompany his brethren.—Gen. 44:1-34
“Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren. And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard. And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. And Joseph said unto his brethren, come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.”—Gen. 45:1-4
Our Key Verse underscores God’s providential overruling in the affairs of those who love him according to his perfect will and pleasure despite whatever may have been intended otherwise by those having nefarious motives.
An important lesson from Joseph’s experience is that of repentance and subsequent forgiveness. After he was treated so harshly in his youth, once he became vested with great authority in Egypt, if he had a retaliatory spirit it would have been very easy for Joseph to have punished his brethren for casting him into a pit and selling him as a slave.
As consecrated followers of Christ, we should recall that our past sins have been forgiven if we have repented and devoted our lives to God’s service. In our dealings with others who may have transgressed against us, if they have acknowledged their misdeeds, we should fully accept their contrition rather than to harbor resentment towards them in our hearts. In our present state of imperfection let us always remember this important principle. “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”—Matt. 6:14,15