“God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household… God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.”
Joseph was seventeen when he was sold as a slave, and he was thirty when Pharaoh made him second in command over Egypt. Thirteen years of undeserved misery could have left deep rage and bitterness in Joseph’s heart. But Joseph was also tempered by God’s constant care, and in the end we will see that all this was for the good of Jacob’s family.
When Joseph eventually encounters his brothers again, he will give them a taste of discipline and speak harshly, but eventually they will reconcile. Joseph might wish for revenge after the way they treated him, but his actions show that he does not treat them as their sins deserve (see Psalm 103:10). In other words, we can see that God also guides Joseph to act with grace, mercy, and wisdom. Although the memories of our hurts can have a long shelf-life, their power to foster a spirit of retaliation can be disarmed by God’s healing mercies showered on our wounded spirits.
In addition, Joseph is richly blessed! Bumper crops pour in, just as God predicted through Pharaoh’s dreams. Joseph also enjoys the warmth of a loving wife and the birth of children. And his sons’ names suggest that he has been healed of the wounds he endured. Egypt, once a place of suffering for Joseph, is now a land of blessing.
O God, you give hurting people the salve of your healing mercies. Cure our wounded spirits and remove any bitterness from our hearts. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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