I was reading this morning where Joseph reveals his identity to his brothers – the very same brothers that had sold him into slavery years before…
Instead of getting his revenge on them, Joseph used his position of leadership in the nation of Egypt to provide a way for his father, brothers, & their families to escape the brunt of the worst famine in recent memory by being relocated from their homes in the Promised Land to Egypt.
The 11 brothers were loaded down with loads of the best produce & provision that Egypt had to offer to make the journey as pleasant as possible.
What stood out to me was the last thing that Joseph said to his brothers before they left with their caravan to bring their father & families back:
Don’t quarrel about all this on the way.
I laughed when I read it.
I laughed because here are 11 brothers whose lives have been utterly turned upside-down for the good; whose worries about the famine & what they would eat, & how they’d provide for their families in the present & foreseeable future had been answered; whose past lies, treachery, greed, & jealousy had finally been uncovered; & also whose brother, the one that they’d sold into slavery, was now the 2nd most powerful man in the world.
They had to go back to their father & confess what they’d done to him years prior. Come clean about the carefully crafted ‘stories’ they’d told over the years to keep up their deception. Look into the eyes & face of their father, the man who they had directly caused so much pain to with their actions.
All of that can make one feel fear.
And rather than confronting our fear, which makes us feel weak & powerless, we respond in anger, which makes us feel strong. Placing blame on others, doing anything to shift the weight of personal responsibility, if even in appearance, onto the shoulders of another.
Joseph knew his brothers. Knew what they’d be doing when they got home. And knew that in spite of all the good that was going to happen to them & theirs, they’d first have to confront their own sins & wrongdoing.
It’s a good word – in the face of having to walk through tough stuff:
Don’t quarrel on the way.