The total reconciliation between Joseph and his brothers will not be complete in chapter 45, but it is now well on its way. This very crucial stage begins with the offended. Joseph realizes his family is in desperate straits. Were it not for his position and the blessing of the Lord, all of his father’s house would be destroyed. It is his conclusion that God has worked through the mean-spiritedness of his brothers to save them all. Five more horrible years of famine were to come that would impoverish even the Egyptians. Joseph’s family in Canaan didn’t have a chance – except for Joseph. Joseph begins to see through God’s eyes.
The second stage is the forgiveness itself, which Joseph offers his brothers.
The third stage comes with assurance that the relationship is restored. We will not see this stage until chapter 50 when the brothers, fearful that Joseph’s goodwill would last only as long as Jacob lived, make up a ruse and tell Joseph their father’s dying wish was for the boys’ reconciliation. Joseph recognizes this for what it is and weeps that his brethren would think his forgiveness so shallow and he assures them it is deep and real.
Why would the boys be so insecure? They never learned to get along with one another. They are not peace loving, why would they expect Joseph to be? That’s why Joseph, as he sends them back to get their father tells them: “Don’t quarrel on the way!”
Which brings me to the last point today: Had Joseph stayed in Canaan and never been sold, his environment would have never changed and he might have become every bit as divisive as his brethren. It took a drastic change to enable Joseph to grow differently. When Jesus calls us to follow him, he doesn’t call us to drag all that baggage of our previous identity with us. He calls us to leave it behind, and sometimes, it means we, in the words of the old hymn, “let goods and kindred go.”