Read: Gen. 42:1-43:34
As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. “Where do you come from?” he asked. Genesis 42:7
It appears that Joseph learned some valuable lessons since the last time he saw his brothers. If you remember, Joseph’s brothers hated him so much that they sold him into slavery and told his father he was dead. They disliked him because he was his father’s favorite and because he told them about these dreams he had of being in a position of power over them. It seems that Joseph had learned to keep his mouth shut.
When I was first married, I was frustrated over an argument I had with my husband and I was talking to my sister about it. She had been married for over ten years and I assumed she would completely understand my complaints and give me advice on how to get Brian to do what I wanted. HA! She listened quietly and then said in the wisdom she had gained from experience, “Jenn, just because you have something to say, doesn’t mean you have to say it.”
It seems from this section of scripture, that Joseph had learned the same lesson. He recognized his brothers right away, but chose not to say anything to them right away. He ultimately forgave his brothers, but initially, he was trying to discern a few things. Were they the same nasty brothers who had hurt him so terribly or were they matured men who had learned from their mistakes? Was his youngest full brother treated poorly, as well? Was his father still alive? By not disclosing who he was right away, Joseph had time to find out the answers to his questions and time to decide what to do.
So often we speak before we think and before we evaluate the benefit of our words. Sometimes, we keep speaking just to get in the last word, even though we should keep our mouths closed before the argument even starts. What an appropriate lesson for our generation to grasp and learn. With social media at our fingertips, there is much temptation to say more than we should before we consider the consequences. For some of us, this is more difficult than for others.
Entire sermons have been written about Joseph’s ability to finally forgive and embrace his brothers again. One has to wonder, would he have responded as well to them if he hadn’t waited to reveal himself. Are there times when you catch yourself saying more than you should, or writing something online you later regret? Ask God for wisdom when using your words.
Father, thank you that you are faithful to guide us and direct us in our conversations. Help us to learn when to speak and when to be quiet, and show us what to say and what to not mention. You are faithful to give us wisdom, may we learn from your word. In Jesus name, Amen.