“And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” (Genesis 45:5 from Genesis 45: 1-28)
I hope I have mentioned often enough that this is the second round of commentaries on the verses from Bread for the Enemy. I do not know if the same readers are reading now as were reading these posts back in 2008. If so, I apologize for twice now harking back to what was said before. But if I were to say anything about this verse, it would not be much different than what I said five years ago. So, here is what I said then. If it sounds familiar, well, you’ll know why.
Gracious after the fact
In this verse again we have the story of brothers. And I find it so appropriate that God’s shalom is seen being worked out in families. There is something so right in learning about shalom in families. However, I must point out that Joseph, who is the speaker in the above text, is showing this graciousness AFTER he had gotten his position in Egypt. I have to wonder if he would have felt as gracious during his captivity and slavery in Egypt.
Often humanity has difficulty showing shalom when one is in difficult time themselves. When one is stressed and pressed upon, the tendency is to stress and press upon others. It is easy to show shalom when one is in good circumstances; much harder when shalom is not present for one’s self. Granted, there are those who have been magnanimous when they themselves have been struggling. But these instances we see as unusual, and because of this, worthy of praise.
Joseph was able to see God’s hand guiding him toward Egypt and placing him in a position that he could insure the survival of not only his family, but the people of Egypt. If we can see God’s hand in our lives, guiding us through the tough times, we might be more able to show shalom to those around us. As I said, families are a good place to learn about shalom. But do not forget, when it comes right down to it, we are all in the family of God, and so should show shalom to even our most wayward and erring of siblings.