"Am I in God's place?" Joseph asked them. Had he been a lesser man, he could have played "king of the mountain" and filled the role of God. "Grace killers" do that sort of thing. They exploit the power they have over others. They play a cruel and unfair game when they have someone cornered, someone who is vulnerable and at their mercy.
Joseph refused to do that. He didn't do it earlier at their reunion, and he doesn't do it now. In his obedience to God, he was restrained by feelings of tender mercy as he communicated God's grace. "Am I in God's place?" he asked his brothers, saying, in effect, "Brothers, listen to me. Let's get this cleared up for the last time. I know what you did, and I know what you meant by it. I know you meant to do me evil. Okay? I understand all that. That was your plan. But God had other plans, and He turned the results of your evil intentions into something good. At one time I did not understand all this, but that time is long past. Get this straight—God meant it all for good." Joseph never stood taller than at this moment in his life. As Churchill would say, it was his "finest hour."
Guard your heart when you have the power to place guilt on someone else. Refuse to rub their nose in the mess they've made. Remember the father of the Prodigal Son. Best of all, remember Joseph. "Don't be afraid," he comforted them kindly. "I will provide for you and your children."
I love the words of George Robinson's timeless hymn: "Led by grace that love to know."1 It is especially pertinent here, because it so beautifully describes Joseph, who, like Christ, had a love that would not cease.
Joseph was led by grace. He spoke by grace. He forgave by grace. He forgot by grace. He loved by grace. He remembered by grace. He provided by grace. Because of grace, when his brothers bowed before him in fear, he could say, "Get on your feet! God meant it all for good."
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