Friday, October 11, 2013

Epic Revenge

In Genesis, Joseph is presented with the perfect opportunity for revenge.
Twenty years after his brothers sold him into slavery, they came to Egypt to buy grain during the famine. (Gen 42)  As the acting government of Egypt, Joseph could have ordered their deaths the moment he saw them, with no questions asked.  Some people say death is too easy.  Torture might fit the bill.  Or perhaps an eye for an eye:  13 years of slavery for each. 
Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman
But what does Joseph do?  He doesn’t even tell them who he is.  After twenty years, they don’t recognize him.  First he requires that they bring his baby brother, Benjamin, to Egypt. Then he tests them to see if they will allow Benjamin to become his slave.  But once they pass the test, he does the most amazing thing.  
He tells them who he is and of course they are scared to death.  Afterall, Joseph was an eyewitness to their plot to kill him all those years ago.  But rather than accuse, he immediately reassures them saying, “Don’t be angry with yourselves for what you did…It was not your fault that I was sent here. It was God’s plan.” (Gen 45: 5-8)
Talk about letting them off the hook—God did it, not you!
If he had killed them, who would have blamed him? If he had thrown them into prison so that his father came looking for them, any torture would have been justified, even in his father’s eyes.
But no, Joseph did for his brothers what Jesus did for all of us.  Joseph forgave his brothers long before they arrived at his doorstep.  If not, he would have planned the most epic revenge imaginable.
I long to be as good at forgiving as Joseph: To no longer hold anyone accountable.  To trust that it all passes through God’s hands before it can arrive at my doorstep. 

God needed Joseph to go to Egypt to save the Jewish nation.  Who is to say that any offense is not part of God’s plan to move any one of us to our own Egypt?
Our Egypt may not be a location—it may be a new depth of character or a deeper spiritual connection with our maker. 
God’s word tells me He has a plan for my life. (Jer 29:11)  If his plan is for a new Egypt, I want to be ready to pack my bags.  Egypt may be calling!
Has God ever used an offense to move you to a new Egypt?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


  1. Like your blog. I'm teaching on forgiveness this Sunday and plan to use your preserve story. Excellent material.

  2. Thank you for your kind words, Kat. I'm glad you found it helpful.


Thank you so much for your comments.