Because I fear…
My church (shout out to Freedom Fellowship!) is currently in the middle of a series on family relationships. So I decided to teach the youth about the story of Joseph in Genesis. It’s a beautiful story about the redemption of family. The whole story can be found in Genesis chapters 37-47. (My attempt at condensing the story into one paragraph is at the end of the blog.)
In the middle of this story, Joseph’s brothers come to the land he now oversees. But they do not recognize him because it’s been at least 20 years since they’ve seen each other. He decides to throw his brothers in jail for three days. This is the first time reading this story where I wonder what Joseph was doing during this three days. I have no clue what he could be thinking or going through during this time. But anywhoo…in Genesis 42:18 Joesph begins to give them instructions, “Do this and you will live, for I fear God:” This is the first time I remember this line, and it stuck out to me, big time. How many things do I do because I fear God? Joseph had the power that he could have easily had them all killed, but he gave them a way to save themselves because he fears God. That’s crazy.
I wonder how I would treat people if I genuinely feared God. We often talk about loving him but rarely about fearing him. God is to be feared. But we are not to be afraid of him like you would be afraid of a monster or bill that comes in the mail. It is more or a reverence for God that should bring on this fear. We should love God as well. But I rarely work out of my fear.
It seems that working out of fear is a way to do right by men even when I don’t feel love for that person. Joseph probably didn’t love his brothers at that time. But doing right out of his fear of God was more important to him. I want to move to this. Even with those I’m closest too, my love for them doesn’t always win. I can become petty, bitter, or even lazy when it comes to relationships. Joseph easily could have been angry and acted accordingly. But he wasn’t, he gave grace and mercy to his brothers and helped to reconcile his family.
I pray in situations where I want to move past being petty that I remember my fear of God and move toward kindness, grace, and mercy.
God is good y’all!
Here’s my abbreviated version of the Joseph story. 🙂 Joseph has a dream that he’s going to rule over his family. His brothers got jealous because he was already his dad’s favorite. In their jealousy, they sold Joseph into slavery to Egypt. While in Egypt he came into a little power, but the wife of his master came on to him. He denied her, and she lied and said he came unto her. Because of this, he was thrown into jail and forgotten.. for years. Then someone remembers him, and he gets released. He rises to power and helps save the land from famine. He spares not only Egypt from the starvation but the surrounding area. His family came to ask him for help but did not know who he was. Joesph reveals himself to them and moves his entire family to Egypt.