Parashat Vayigash (and he approach) Genesis 44:18-47:27
Haftarah: Ezekiel 37:15-28
In this week’s Torah portion there is a lesson about the necessity of falling under conviction. If a person does not know the reality of his sins, he will not appreciate the grace and forgiveness that is either offered to him or which he received. When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers after a 17 year separation, the Bible emphasizes the importance of the manner in which Joseph did this. He did not right away say, “Hey guys I am your brother and I forgive you for selling me into slavery.” Rather Scripture reveals a very detailed and cognitive method which Joseph utilized to teach his brothers the proper perspective which they needed to comprehend, so that there could be true reconciliation.
When Joseph saw how his brothers had changed, especially Judah, who was now very concerned about their father Jacob and how he would handle the loss of Binyamin, whereas he and the rest of the brothers were indifferent to the pain they caused their father in regard to Joseph, he was moved to reveal himself to them and seek reconciliation. It is most significant that after Joseph said to them, “I am Joseph…” that he immediately asked, “… Is my father still alive…?” Why would he ask this question when if one reads the conversation between Joseph and Judah which led to Joseph being moved to reveal himself, it was quite obvious that Jacob was still alive? The answer is found in the next part of the verse. The text reads, “…his brothers were not able to answer him because they were afraid.” (See Genesis 45:3).
The brothers could not respond because they were seized with fear because they were convicted by their sin and that it was going to be exposed to their father. When Joseph saw their fear and contrition, he never told their father how it was that he arrived in Egypt. In other words, Joseph did not want revenge nor did he find satisfaction in even the truth being exposed when this would shame his brothers. Rather he saw how HaShem used it for good. This does not mean that the brothers had not sinned, only that because Joseph loved G-d and was called in a very specific way to be used by G-d, that HaShem did not allow the sin and disobedience of the brothers to thwart what He had called Joseph to be, the leader of the Children of Israel as Joseph’s dreams had promised (See Romans 8:28).
It would be wrong to think that this was the only way that G-d could accomplish this purpose; rather the great Sovereign G-d is not hindered from fulfilling His will even by the disobedience of man.
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