So Joseph sent his brothers off, and as they left, he called after them, “Don’t quarrel about all this along the way!” Genesis 45: 24 (NLT)
Remember the kid with the coat of many colors? His name was Joseph and he was the eleventh son, out of twelve, born in his family. When a parent plays favorites with his children, the results are often disastrous. And Joseph was the favored son. The jealousy this created with his older brothers resulted in consequences that broke many hearts; they sold him to a caravan headed to Egypt to get rid of him and then lied to their father that he had been killed.
Joseph had every reason to be frustrated, even vengeful to his brothers. Joseph, the dreamer, badgered his older brothers as they were all growing up and they grew resentful of his ambitious dreams of lording it over them. They certainly couldn’t imagine ever bowing down to him–but they did. A severe famine settled on the land of Israel and the only option was to go to Egypt and buy food for their families. Little did they know that the man in charge was their very own brother, Joseph. But he knew who they were.
Through a variety of strategies, Joseph eventually managed to get his youngest brother to Egypt and at the sight of him, he had to leave the room and weep. I can only imagine that Joseph may have thought he would never again see his youngest brother or family. His brothers had done a terrible thing to him. But what they meant for harm, God meant for good. As a result, the brothers went back to get the rest of the family and bring them to Goshen to endure the rest of the years of famine.
But Joseph’s instruction as they left was intriguing to me. “Don’t quarrel about all this along the way.” He knew his brothers. They were going to have some big questions to answer from their father when they got home. Who was going to shoulder the blame? The finger pointing could have ruined the journey and taken away the joy of seeing their brother again. Joseph had forgiven them. They had to forgive themselves.
We don’t always have to be right. Excuses and blame are so natural — the old sin nature we inherited from Adam and Eve rearing it’s ugly head. Letting go of our sin after receiving forgiveness is the only way to peace and our new life in Christ. God had a much bigger purpose for Joseph and His means may not have been what we would choose. But God’s way is best. The family was reunited and those seventy members of Jacob’s family were protected to fulfill the promise and covenant to Abraham:
I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Genesis 22:17 NLT
During those moments when we feel like we have to defend ourselves and have the last word, let it go. God knows our heart. He will even the score in the end. Our purpose is to love.