Genesis 45:25, 26 So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. They told him, “Joseph is still alive! In fact he is ruler of all Egypt.” Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived.
The emotions associated with the realization that Joseph was still alive must have been overwhelming to Jacob. On top of that, he was ruler over all Egypt. Can you imagine the questions that went through Jacob’s mind – particularly after they loaded up and were on their journey back to Egypt – the hours of travel, thinking about seeing his son again? Did he ask his sons, “How did Joseph wind up in Egypt?” “What happened?”
If he did, I wonder what they said. Would they have spoken the truth to their father? Sometime in the coming days, Jacob likely learned the truth – whether from his older sons or from Joseph. That would have been something for him to deal with. But overshadowing it all would have been the intervention of God.
There were the dreams when Joseph was a teenager. There was the reality of the dreams coming true – he was now the ruler over Egypt! How could that happen without God? Then there was the vision at Beersheba that Jacob – now called Israel by God – received after offering sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac. God reassured him about going to Egypt.
And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!” “Here I am,” he replied. “I am God, the God of your father,” he said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.” (Genesis 46:2-4)
Think of the joy and excitement that Jacob and Joseph were both experiencing – knowing that they would get to see each other again! Then the day came when Jacob arrived and Joseph saw him. Joseph threw his arms around him and wept for a long time. They had been apart for about 22 years.
The pain, the years of separation, the difficulties, the slavery, the prison, the loneliness, the sacrifices – all were part of God’s plan. We need to understand that if God’s plans and purposes require them, He will cause us to experience similar things. This is why it is so critical to have our faith and trust rooted firmly in Him. When hard times come – and they will – He is our rock, our confidence and our hope. Our trust will be securely in Him no matter how much we don’t understand. We too can be – and must be – like Joseph and walk faithfully through whatever trials may come.