Genesis 45: Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
Joseph could have been an incredibly bitter man, but in Genesis chapter 45, we see almost the exact opposite.
Finally, after everything that has been going on over the past few chapters, Joseph finally broke down and told his brothers who he really was.
At first, his brothers were afraid of this new prospect. After all, they could be in deep trouble. Joseph might hate them because of everything they put him through, and he was now in a position of power where he could easily make their lives miserable.
However, Joseph quickly put a stop to those thoughts.
Gen 45:4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
Gen 45:5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
Gen 45:6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
Gen 45:7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
Gen 45:8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
Everything in this passage points directly back to God. Joseph never took any credit for becoming the second most powerful man in Egypt. He recognized the fact that everything was orchestrated through God’s plan.
As we go to Ecclesiastes 12:13, we find out what we are on earth to do.
Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
The entire purpose of our lives is essentially to glorify and respect God through all that we do and keep his commandments. Notice that that is our “whole duty.” There is no other task that we are called to do because this task fills the entirety of our mission.
Joseph obviously understood this concept even though the Biblical text as we know it wasn’t written when he was on earth. He understood that he wasn’t on earth to glorify his own accomplishments. He quickly turned the focus on what God had done through his life.
I think that this is a standard we should all strive for. When something goes really well, it is tempting to take credit for everything. It is easy to want to say that because I did something, a positive result happened.
However, when we take a page out of the life of Joseph and combine it with our mission as described in Ecclesiastes, we can understand a little more about how we are supposed to be God credit for what He does. It is one of our main purposes while on earth.