Scripture: Genesis 45:1-15
Key verses: (7-8) God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
Reflection: Have you ever compared memories with a sibling or a childhood friend? It can be amazing to realize that you both had the same experience but you remember it in completely different ways. A family vacation might be remembered as a huge adventure or a boring long trip. A classroom performance might be remembered as an embarrassing incident or as the beginnings of a creative career.
In today’s readings, Joseph was reunited with his brothers after years of living in Egypt. His brothers came seeking food and they didn’t recognize their brother Joseph. As a child, they had despised him and sold him to traders who took him to Egypt. We don’t know how they remembered the experience. Were they glad they got rid of their father’s favorite son? Were they carrying a burden of guilt buried deep inside?
Joseph looked back at his life experience and he saw God at work. I think there are two important lessons in this. First, Joseph is the one who interprets what God is doing in his life. And second, he does that by looking back at his history. I don’t think Joseph would have welcomed a messenger yelling down to him when he was in the pit, “I know your brothers threw you down there but really God will work it out.” And I don’t think Joseph would have been receptive if a fellow prisoner told him “God is going to use this time in prison to make you a great man.”
Joseph looked back at his life experience and he saw God at work. Joseph was the only one who could make this faith claim for himself. It couldn’t be imposed upon him from an outsider. And I don’t think he could recognize it in the present tense, but only by looking back. When you think about your life experiences, how do you see God at work? In what ways did God use events to shape your path? How has God guided you to where you are today and how will God use you where you are?
Prayer: Use me, O God. Use even me. Give me eyes of faith to see my past as you have worked in my life. Give me an understanding of your claim and call for me so that I can be faithful to you now. Through Christ I pray. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].