Daily D – Genesis 50:18-21
Genesis 50:18-21 His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.
19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ge 50:18–21.
Genesis becomes ever more dear to me year after year. Its characters are like old friends who never change and yet develop new depths and dimensions previously unnoticed. Grief accompanies the completion of these readings.
Joseph had dreams as a teenager of his brothers, and then his whole family, bowing down to him. Those God-given dreams came true, but not likely how he imagined as a seventeen-year-old. At the end of Jacob’s life, there is a tender moment between Jacob and Joseph. We find this story in Genesis 48.
There is a simple sentence, a single verse in a story of maximum expression of tenderness. There are tears of loss and joy, of reunion and separation. Joseph, the second-most powerful man in Egypt, bows down with his face to the ground (verse 12).
Both of these men lived lives of God’s dreams for them. Nations were blessed and enriched because of them. Lives were saved because of them. Each of them learned and lived reverence.
Jacob blesses his sons in Genesis 49. Notice especially his words to Judah (verses 8-12). Future kings, including the Lion of Judah, will come from Judah’s descendants. Think back on his story. What set him apart for this special honor? Rabbi Jonathan Sacks says it may be because he is the first person recorded to repent. (See chapter 38.)
We come at last to Genesis 50. Could there be a better closing scene, a more fitting climax than verses 19-21? Joseph declares three powerful truths:
- I am not God.
- God used you so that he could use me.
- You may anticipate kindness from me for as long as I live.
Think back on all the stories in this magnificent beginning of God’s story. Ponder the characters we have encountered. These truths emerge and stand the tests of these times, and for all times.
- The next book, Exodus, will tell us who God is.
- It will tell us how God shaped this family to become a nation.
- It will tell us how God wants everyone everywhere to anticipate his kindness to them through this nation.
As this book and this month draw to a close, let us take these truths to heart. Let us know God as he has revealed himself. Let us become blessings to others as God has so richly blessed us. Let us become the kinds of people in relation to others that they may always anticipate kindness from us.
I will live a life where others may always anticipate kindness from me.
Our Father, Jacob, Joseph, and Judah were not kind people when we first met them. As we read their stories and ponder them today, it is as if you dropped them into a rock-polishing tumbler and smoothed their rough places making them shine with deep brilliance. For others to anticipate kindness from me at all times in all circumstances, there are some rough places you need to smooth, layers you need to remove. Here am I. Polish me. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”