Genesis 50:19-21 NKJV Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? (20) But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. (21) Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
After living in Egypt for 17 years (Genesis 47:28), Joseph’s father Israel (Jacob) knew he was about to die. He called all his sons to him, laid his hands on them and blessed them and his grandchildren. After speaking over each of them divine blessings, Israel breathed his last.
Fear began to develop in the hearts of all of Joseph’s brothers with the exception of Benjamin. They thought that perhaps now that their father Israel was dead, Joseph would exact revenge upon them for how they had mistreated him and sold him into slavery nearly 40 years prior at this time. The Scripture records that the Egyptians mourned him for 70 days, although only 40 days was required. As the mourning continued for Jacob, I can only imagine how the fears of Joseph’s brothers began to swell seeing Joseph’s immense grief and the sorrow of all the people that owed their very lives to, since it was Joseph’s who delivered by the grace of God the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream and had the plan to save all of Egypt from the impending famine that was to come.
For the past 17 years all of His brothers and their families have been peacefully living and prospering in Egypt. They had enjoyed feasts with Joseph and had even seen him cry, overwhelmed at being reunited with them again and seeing their repentant hearts at the evil they had done towards him (Genesis 44:26-34, Genesis 45:5, Genesis 45:15). Yet in all that time living in Goshen, their very own portion of Egypt given to them and their families, they did not KNOW the heart of their brother. Despite all the good times their children spent playing together and the family gatherings filled with joy and laughter, they still hadn’t gotten to know their brothers’ heart toward them. If they had, they would not have feared. For they would have known that he meant no harm to them and any anger he might have had for them had been settled.
For this very reason many Christians today are consumed with fear. In difficult situations, they fear that God will turn His back on them or plague them and make matters worse. Some even believe that God is the cause of their difficulties and live in fear of what He may do next to punish them for their previous misconduct and attitudes toward Him. This is heartbreaking to me and it is just flat wrong. God is not angry with man, nor is he plotting vengeance on mankind. God’s justice demanded that sin be dealt with, but His love spurned Him to send His Son to bear the penalties of our sins in His own body so that we could obtain freedom from the fear and walk in right standing with our loving Father.
Romans 5:6-9 NKJV For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. (8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (9) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
Just as Joseph had no ill will towards his brothers, God has no ill will toward you. On the contrary, He loves you so much that He sent Jesus to die for you. No matter your situation, God is on your side. Take some time today to get better acquainted with God’s heart toward you. Purge out those old ideas of a mean and vengeful God. Renew your mind to how he loves and cares for you and Fear Not!