Scripture reading for January 16th: Genesis 45-47
Families and churches are prone to conflict! I know because I live in a family and have been a pastor for twenty-five years in three different churches. I have experienced conflict in family and church settings and sometimes been responsible for it myself! Sometimes conflict comes from misunderstanding and poor communication. Other times it comes from jealousy or envy. Sometimes it comes from sin and wrong-doing. Everybody wants to blame somebody else and arguments ensue about who was right or who to blame!
When Joseph revealed himself to his estranged brothers, they were astonished, speechless, and terrified! (Genesis 45:1-7) Joseph had to reassure them because he probably had to work through these same kinds of feelings himself. God had given him understanding of the greater purpose that was being worked out. “It was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.”
Joseph sent them away to bring the rest of the family down to Egypt to save them during the next 5 years of famine. He warned them not to quarrel on the way! It doesn’t appear that repentance had truly taken place and Joseph sensed possible animosity. We can only take responsibility for our own sins and forgive others of theirs. When we do that, quarreling is greatly reduced and peace in the family can be re-established. God works out his purposes in our families and homes even amidst the conflict and sin so prevalent in our lives. Often it’s hard to see the big picture.
Jesus Christ was sent before us to save us! He saw God’s big picture and died for our sins. If we confess our sins and repent of them, he will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all guilt and shame. But we may need many reminders to forgive ourselves, others, and let the old memories of failures fade away. May we be able to heed the ancient warning of Joseph and receive the blessing of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. “Don’t quarrel on the way!” (Genesis 45:24)