Genesis 45:3-11, 15 (NRSV)
Verse 3Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?" But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence. Verse 4Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come closer to me." And they came closer. He said, "I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Verse 5And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. Verse 6For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. Verse 7God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. Verse 8So 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. Verse 9Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, 'Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. Verse 10You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children's children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. Verse 11I will provide for you there-since there are five more years of famine to come-so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.' Verse 15And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.
God’s mercy is…Love and reconciliation.
Despite all the Israelites have done and not done, God still loves them and offers forgiveness and yet another chance. God’s love is unmatched, as we hear in the story of Joseph’s reconciliation with his brothers.
Clearly, Joseph has the upper hand over his brothers when they arrive seeking relief from a famine—and they are fully aware of it. They most likely wonder if Joseph will retaliate against them for selling him into slavery. Aware of their feelings, Joseph says, “Now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves… for God sent me before you to preserve life.” Joseph forgives his brothers because he trusts in God. He senses that he is directed to forgive his brothers for the greater good of his family.
God continues to call to us to be agents of love and reconciliation in our world. How is the mercy we find in Christ asking you to do the work of love and reconciliation at this time?
Reconciling God, help us be agents of your reconciliation and mercy for our world. Please help us do our part in this work and not allow fear and hate to dominate our lives. Instead, let your love for the world flow through us. Amen.