Gen. 44 ends with the distress of Joseph’s brothers, and the confession of sin by Judah. We had to wait a day for the resolution. But the text is a continuous read. Thus, it is not a delay in the story of resolution, only in our reading of the text. That is why occasionally I will read Gen. 37-50 in one sitting. First, that practice avoids the disjunction of daily readings. Second, the story is that engaging. I don’t want to stop after I come to critical juncture.
Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. They thought he had died, and they were responsible. They hated him, now they are terrified by him. Joseph is rejoicing at seeing his brothers. They were not ready for him yet.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. (Gen. 45:3 NAS)
But they could not answer him because they were terrified in his presence. (HCBS)
His brothers could not answer him because they were afraid of him. (GW)
But Joseph comforts and reassures them.
Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. (Gen. 45:5 NAS)
God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; (Gen. 45:7-8 NAS)
And they will have to hear this more. Like us today. Sometimes the pain of our sin against some continues to nip at our consciences. We need to hear God’s love, forgiveness, mercy, restoration repeatedly. How wonderful Joseph’s declaration to Hsi brothers: “But God…” After more greetings and weeping by everyone, they we read this change:
Before that they were hateful, angry, terrified, silent, but now they talk with Joseph. What a transformation! Prior to this they had to face their father with their confession. But now… Joseph sends them back to their father with good news: Joseph is alive. And more, they urge Jacob to bring his entire family and workers to Egypt to survive the famine. God’s provision is greater than they could have imagined.
The Promise to Abraham
Gen. 46 moves forward, but with a look back. It presents another genealogy, but different in form than others. This family history (account) tells all who moved with Joseph to Epgyt.
The look back is the fourfold promise given to Abraham in Gen. 12 (blessing, great name, great nation, land). This segment looks at who came to Egypt, 66 people, an insignificant number by anyone’s measure. By the time their descendants leave Egypt they are a great nation, that will cause fear in their sight of their enemies.
The story unfolding in Genesis is not about great heroes of faith, but failures, weaknesses, sins, anger, hatred, jealousy, deceit. “But God…” God remains committed to His promises to Abraham regardless of how many sinners interact and form the history of the promise. God is guides, leads, directs, rebukes, forgives, restores, and renews.
The God of the Old Testament is no different in the New Testament. Jesus live and walked among sinners: those who misunderstood, betrayed (Judas), denied (Peter), challenged (Pharisees), hated (Herod), rejected Him.
“But God…” Namely “But Jesus…” came to save sinners like them, like me. What a wondrous story of love!
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
I may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith (Philippians 3:8 NAS)
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:20-21 NAS)
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9 NAS)
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. (1 John 2:1-2 NAS)
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 NAS)
Those verses from the New Testament all sound like an excellent summary of this account as God deals with Joseph and his brothers.