Day 27

Joseph Reveals His Identity

from the Genesis reading plan

Genesis 44:1-34, Genesis 45:1-15, Galatians 3:14

BY Guest Writer

Text: Genesis 44:1-34, Genesis 45:1-15, Galatians 3:14

Growing up, I was vaguely aware of Joseph and his coat of many colors. I even ice skated to a song about it when I was ten, wearing the amazing colorful costume my mom covered in giant rhinestones for me. As I got older, I came to learn the real story of Joseph: how his father gave him that colorful coat, causing his brothers to envy him, how those envious brothers sold him into slavery, and how Joseph triumphed over all those events and became a powerful leader in Egypt. I love an underdog story (who doesn’t?), and Joseph’s story always seemed to epitomize that. But lately, Joseph’s story has become so much more to me.

Recently, I was deeply hurt by some people I love dearly. I wanted so badly to forgive them, but in my heart, I struggled to actually do so. The phrase “easier said than done” resonated as I found myself waffling between communicating love and then sadness, forgiveness and then anger.

When I turned to God’s Word for guidance in how to truly forgive, I didn’t expect to be drawn to the story of Joseph. Here was a man who’d suffered tremendously at the hands of those he trusted. He was betrayed by his own brothers, torn from relationship with his beloved father, and even wrongfully imprisoned (Genesis 37, 39).

So, years later, when Joseph’s brothers unknowingly came to him for help (Genesis 42:6-7), there were so many angry, broken, bitter ways he could have responded. He could’ve used the opportunity to humiliate his brothers, withhold his help from them, or take revenge for everything they’d done to him.

But that’s not how Joseph chose to respond. Instead, he was utterly vulnerable and wept aloud. He refused to blame his brothers and openly gave glory to God for His plan and provision (Genesis 45:1-8).

This is such a contradiction to what my own heart is naturally prone to do. And in my career as professional counselor, I’ve seen it time and time again: our natural inclination is to retreat and self-protect. It seems we’re afraid to show others our sadness and pain, as if it’s somehow safer to put up walls of anger and silence—even while we long to be understood and feel a close connection with those we love.

Joseph had every reason not to trust his brothers, to want to protect himself instead; yet he placed his trust in God. Joseph’s identity and security were so deeply rooted in God, he was able to forgive his brothers entirely, and invite them into his presence and under his protection (Genesis 45:9-11).

Joseph’s response blows me away, and yet, isn’t it a reflection of God’s response to us? We’d like to think we’re always the honorable underdog, like Joseph. But we’re also his vengeful brothers, we’re the villagers throwing stones (John 8:3-11), and we’re the ones who put Christ on a cross (1 Peter 2:24).

Joseph offered his brothers forgiveness where they feared condemnation, but how much more does Christ offer us in His life, death, and resurrection! Even while hanging on the cross, Jesus petitioned for our forgiveness, saying, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Because of God, Joseph was able to forgive his brothers. And because of Christ, we can forgive those who hurt us, knowing we’ve all fallen short in our sin but we’ve been forgiven entirely (Romans 3:23-24, 1 John 1:9).

I have offended a perfect God more horrendously than I can bear, and I’ve been forgiven more completely than I can fathom. Mercy upon mercy upon mercy has been heaped upon me. Out of this relationship with an overwhelmingly gracious God, I find that I, too, can be moved, changed, and compelled to truly forgive.

Kaitie Stoddard is a professional counselor who recently relocated from Chicago to Colorado with her husband. She has her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is passionate about helping couples and families find healing in their relationships. Jesus dramatically changed her life in high school, giving her a heart for those who don’t yet know the love of Christ. On any given weekend you’re likely to find Katie snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, checking out new restaurants with friends, or catching up on her favorite Netflix and podcast series.


Post Comments (75)

75 thoughts on "Joseph Reveals His Identity"

  1. Chloe says:

    This really hit home with me today! I been struggling lately with the hurt my parents caused me in my childhood.I told myself for sometime that I am over it, but sometimes conversations lead to anger and hurt within me that I never express. I been going back and forth about speaking with them regarding it,if its pointless, or should I just go to God to recieve my true healing from it and mend our relationship. This confirmed that regardless of how they hurt me that it was for a greater plan and purpose .My hurt introduced me to the ultimate healer, My Lord. And to that I say thank you, our sins, failures, and hurt are used by God to fulfill his plans. Thank You God!

  2. Darla says:

    I have always loved the story of Joseph and marveled at his courage and that he wasn’t a complainer , in ALL that had been done unfairly to him he didn’t complain. I would have been the most whiny person ever! I too have been deeply hurt by some I dearly love and until today the aspect of Joseph offering forgiveness was a fact and not a lesson for me. I have not been treated the way Joseph was and yet I was holding on to my pitiful little hurt like I had been thrown into a pit and sold into slavery! I needed this word today so that I can forgive fully and through that be reconciled with my loved ones with complete freedom. The Enemy would love for me to say “I forgive you,” and still harbor the hurt. Joseph indicates no sign of anything except complete acceptance and joy in being reunited with his family.

    1. Mjoseph says:

      Amen! I too have been hurt by loved ones. It is my tendency also to retreat and isolate from them. It is a good To be reminded that I am not alone, and that the enemy is behind the division. God is behind the reconciliation.

  3. Michelle says:

    I really enjoyed this post! I think the story of Joseph shows God’s heart for us definitely because He forgave us through Jesus, and Joseph had his identity rooted in God so strongly that he was able to overcome his own brokenness and forgive all of his brothers. I think, however, when his brothers first came unknowingly to ask for help, he reacted out of frustration which was not mentioned. I can understand this because he was so hurt by what his brothers had done to him that he acted out of this emotion. I resonate with this completely because when people hurt me, it’s very difficult for me to forgive them when I mull over it and let it consume me. However, God gave him grace and allowed him later to get past this and reveal himself to them. I can see God doing this to us as well because if we do something wrong against God, it doesn’t go unpunished. Although we are seen as blameless in God’s eyes because of Jesus, this doesn’t mean we won’t ever experience consequences. Then God blesses us and forgives us when we learn what happened and why what we did was wrong. This is so awesome to see God’s heart for us in this story!

  4. This was amazing! Forgiveness is the word I’ve chosen to focus on this year. I’ve spent so much time holding onto past hurt and not truly forgiving those who’ve wronged me. When you really stop and think about it though how sad it would be to not be forgiven. To not be forgiven for our own mistakes and transgressions. As Christians we are to strive to be more Christ like and that includes forgiving those who’ve wronged us with mercy and grace. Forgiveness is something I’ve struggled with like many others but this year I’m really going to try harder and pray more for God to help me forgive and let go. Life is too short to hold onto anger and pain. “Because of God, Joseph was able to forgive his brothers. And because of Christ, we can forgive those who hurt us, knowing we’ve all fallen short in our sin but we’ve been forgiven entirely (Romans 3:23-24, 1 John 1:9).”

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