Joseph Is Reunited With His Father
In the last series, Joseph instructs his brothers to go and get their father and bring him to Egypt where he is ruler over Pharaoh’s house. Talk about a turn of events: Joseph is sold into slavery, lied on, placed in prison and now he rules all of Egypt.
In obedience to Joseph’s command, his brothers set out on their journey to Canaan with wagons and all the resources they need. Their sole responsibility is to inform their aging, dying father that the son he loved is indeed alive.
When they arrive in Canaan, Joseph’s brothers inform their father of all that happened in Egypt and their meeting with Joseph (the son he believed to be dead). Weakened and faint, Jacob is overcome with emotion and disbelief. His sons continue to explain what Joseph has said and inform their father that not only is his son alive, he is the ruler of Egypt and is calling for him. The news excites and rejuvenates Jacob. Totally amazed, he prepares for the journey to meet his son.
After his arrival in Egypt, Jacob is reunited with the son he has not seen in years. They embrace and weep on each other’s shoulders. Imagine how Jacob must have felt. There he was thinking his son was dead. As far as Jacob was concerned, Joseph was special because he was born to him and his beloved, Rachel. So, by the time he was ready to write Joseph off, he gets the news that he is not only alive, but the ruler of a great nation. Also, to top things off, his livelihood and that of his family rests solely on Joseph’s shoulders. It was Joseph who ruled, was put in control, and who found favor in the eyes of God and Pharaoh. He may have been hated, traded, and left for dead, but now he was law giver, and as the young folks would say, "Joseph was large, and in charge."
The story of Joseph, his brothers, father, and Pharaoh has different meanings to different people. One meaning I gathered from reading the story is that if God is for you, He is more than the world against you. Joseph’s brother’s intentions were evil. They hated him because he was his father’s favorite. They wanted to distance themselves from the brother that proved to be a threat and subsequently sold him into slavery but Joseph found favor with God. His success and/ or victory did not occur immediately, but after several ordeals ( being lied on by the king’s wife, forgotten by the king’s servant and left in prison, etc.) he found himself at the head of Pharaoh’s house.
Often during my messages, I caution people that it is far greater to have favor with God than to be the favorite of man. Being man’s favorite may appear to have benefits, but they are temporary and limited. God’s favor stretches across family lines and is limitless.
In Joseph’s case, favor with God was not confined to him only, but his father and grandfather were recipients also. As Jacob (whose name had been changed to Israel) made his way with all that he had, he came to a place called Beersheba (a place hallowed by sacred memories) and offered up sacrifices to God. While on his journey, God spoke to him saying, "I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation." Genesis 46:3 Jacob, too, had favor with God as well as his father, Isaac, and grandfather Abraham. One incident of God’s favor with Abraham was the situation with Sarah wanting him to get rid of Hagar and Abram’s son Ishmael. The thought of sending his son away grieved Abraham and God spoke to him saying, " Do not let it seem grievous and evil to you because of the youth and your bondwoman: in all that Sarah has said to you, do what she asks, for in Isaac shall your posterity be called. [Romans 9:7] God took that which seemed evil to Sarah and made of it a great nation. "And I will make a nation of the son of the bondwoman also, because he is your offspring." Genesis 21:13.
When Jacob arrives in Egypt, Joseph goes and tells the king of their arrival. Pharaoh’s reply to him was, "The land of Egypt is before you; make your father and your brothers dwell in the best of the land." Genesis 47:6. Having favor means having the best that this world has to offer, but it comes with a price. We cannot seek revenge on those who have wronged us, but we must leave the vengeance to God and allow him to repay our enemies.
Now Joseph could have gotten even with his brothers and placed them into prison throwing away the key (it would have been as some people say, "karma.") but Joseph chose not to do so. He loved God and sought righteousness. In the end, he becomes ruler. With God, the least is the greatest. The story of Joseph will exist as one of the greatest of all times chronicling the life of a great man and a perfect example of what the enemy (who comes in the form of our closest companions) devises to do us harm, God transforms it into something greater than our wildest dreams.
By Naomi J. Brown