So there Joseph and his brothers are, standing there, weeping, repenting, forgiving.
But what God wanted to do wasn’t finished.
God didn’t allow Joseph’s brother to sell him into slavery, serve in Potiphar’s house, be betrayed by Potiphar’s wife, serve in prison, be betrayed again, be remembered and raised to a high position just to forgive his brothers.
No, it was to save a nation, a people God had called to himself. And what a salvation it was!
Can you imagine the scene? Jacob is sitting in his tent, wondering if his sons would ever return. He’d heard about the Egyptian named Zaphenath-paneah who had talked so harshly to his sons, throwing them into jail, keeping one son even now, while demanding his last son, Benjamin, also come to Egypt. He had lost so much, and if he lost the rest of his sons, the vision from God passed through generations would never come true. Jacob may have regretted giving in to Judah and lettering Benjamin go.
Jacob, who had twelve sons, might die a failure, without any sons.
And then the news…a cloud of dust on the horizon. Egyptian camels and wagons heading towards him. He squints against the sun. Were his sons with them, or was Egypt coming to collect the little food and wealth Jacob had not sent with his boys. Was this the end? Was he a failure?
And then to find out, it was just the beginning…
Eleven sons returned, telling him the twelfth son was still alive – the son he had mourned for years, whom he had no hope to return. Not only was Joseph alive, but he was the dreaded “Zaphenath-paneah,” second only to Pharoah in all of Egypt. Pharoah himself had sent the wagons, to reunite the family. And in the midst of a famine, Pharoah had promised, “Have no concern for your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.”
Take it all in, Jacob…
And no wonder Jacob’s “heart was numb.” I’m surprised he didn’t die on the stop! As he looked and listened, he started to believe. And then, without hesitation he said, “It is enough; Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”
There have been times, in my despair, I’ve seen a cloud of dust over the horizon, not knowing if it would be more bad news. And even when it’s good news, like salvation through Jesus, it’s hard to take it all in…
But if we take it in, the good news of salvation, it opens a whole new world!