Joseph laughed as his great-grandchildren played all around him. He bent down and lifted one of the toddling girls over his head to her delight. He felt a pain run down his left arm and end in the middle of his back.
He set the youngster down and sat on his throne. One of the interpreters he left with his brothers caught his attention. He motioned for the man to come to him.
“How is everything in Goshen, Ahmed? You have my authority to do whatever they need done to make sure they’re cared for.”
Ahmed bowed. “Everything is all right, your highness. Your brothers have a concern they wish for me to present to you. I assured them there’s no need for this, but, they insist.”
Joseph shifted his position to attempt to get comfortable, his back pain persisted. “What is it? Let me see if we can make it right with them. After all, they are family.”
“They want me to tell you that your father told them to tell you that you should forgive them for what they did to you in their youth. They say he insisted that you might take your revenge on them after he died. I told them this is totally unfounded.”
Joseph’s vision blurred. A tear rolled down his right cheek. “Their guilt is still consuming them, Ahmed. My father would have addressed this with me if that were truly from him. Have them come to me. I need to discuss another important matter with them, anyway.”
Ahmed bowed. “As you say, so shall it be.”
Joseph awoke from his nap and walked out to his throne.
Ahmed was standing next to the seat. He bowed to Joseph. “Your brothers are here to see you, your highness.”
Joseph walked to his throne. “I must say you are getting quite efficient these days, Ahmed. What took you so long?”
“Apparently your brothers’ guilt finally gave them enough of a spine to come to you themselves. I met them a short distance from here. They’re waiting outside your chamber.”
Joseph sat down. “Please, have them come in at once.”
Ahmed bowed. “As you say, so shall it be.”
Joseph’s brothers came in and immediately fell face-down at his feet. “We are your slaves, Joseph. Have mercy on us.”
Joseph tried to get the strength to shout, but couldn’t. He waited for them to stand. “Guys, listen closely to me. What you did to me was terribly wrong of you. I know you hated me at the time. That doesn’t excuse it in any way.” He took a deep breath. “I know you meant that as evil to me from your hearts. But, we now know that was the only way God was going to get me here in Egypt at this time to save all of you and so many others. Please find it in yourselves to forgive what can’t be changed in the past.”
Judah cleared his throat. “How can you…?”
Joseph raised his hand. “Stop, just let it go. Trust the God of our fathers, He has everything working according to His plan. He promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that we’d be back in the land we came from. I know He will do as He said. I don’t know how long that will be, but it will happen.”
Joseph sat up to relieve that pain in his back. “I don’t know how much longer I’ll be with you. I think my Egyptian diet is catching up with me. I won’t make you all place your hand under my thigh, but I do have a special request for you all to swear to.”
Reuben stepped forward. “Anything Joseph. If it weren’t for you none of us would even be here.”
Joseph winced from his pain. “Promise me that you’ll take my body back home when God fulfills His promise, even if it means all you have are my bones to carry with you.”
All the brothers struggled to get to Joseph to place their hand under his thigh to show how serious they were to keep that commitment.
Aren’t you glad we can more easily let go of our past mistakes now that the Holy Spirit indwells God’s children once we’re born again?
Yeah, I know that isn’t true.
So, why do we hold on to our improper actions so long, even long after they’ve been forgiven by others?
I think it’s because grace is still such a foreign concept for our depraved minds to comprehend. We can easily accept justice needing to be carried out to right a wrong. That makes total sense. But, not having to pay for something we know was wrong, that’s just not right.
That’s the God of this universe we find ourselves in. He’s the author and perfecter of grace.
Joseph’s walk with the God of their fathers was so much closer than any of his brothers could ever imagine. That’s why he was able to exhibit God’s grace to them.
He saw God’s hand in all of his life’s events: the slavery, improper accusation, imprisonment and being forgotten for so long. It was all under God’s control.
That’s also why he was so adamant that his bones be taken back to Canaan when God kept his promise to return them home. He knew God would uphold His end of the deal.
This is the exact attitude the Apostle Paul exhibited in Philippians 3:13-14. “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward.” NIV
I pray you develop your relationship with the God of grace to the point that you can also release your past mistakes and focus on what lies ahead for all of God’s children: a glorious forever in God’s peace-filled presence.
If this is still a foreign concept to you I charge you to investigate Jesus Christ’s claims deeper. I’m praying for God to open your spiritual eyes to see these truths.
I’ll see you later. Wade