Yael Eckstein on Being the First to Forgive

“And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” — Genesis 45:5

The Hebrew month of Elul, which means “search,” is a time of intense soul-searching and repentance in preparation for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Elul is also a time to begin the process of asking for forgiveness for wrongs done to others. This is one of 13 devotions on repentance and forgiveness. To learn more about the shofar, which is blown every weekday during Elul¸ download our complimentary Bible study.

Our verse today comes from one of the most emotionally charged sections in the Hebrew Bible. The story of Joseph and his brothers reaches a crescendo in Genesis Chapter 45 as the brothers discovered themselves completely at the mercy of the Egyptian ruler who, unbeknownst to them, was really their brother Joseph.

As the brothers pled for the life of Benjamin, who had been set up to look like a thief, they explained that to lose Benjamin would be a death sentence for their father. These were the very same brothers who were so quick to get rid of Joseph, regardless of what it would do to him or their father. Old feelings came to the forefront for Joseph and his brothers as they were painfully reminded of a past that still haunted them all.

The Bible depicts the drama: “Joseph could no longer control himself . . . And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him . . .” (Genesis 45: 1–2). Then, Joseph revealed himself saying, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” (Genesis 45:3). In other words, Joseph was basically saying: Where were your concerns for our father’s wellbeing when you got rid of me? Where was your concern for me?

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Yael Eckstein