Genesis 44:1-45:15; Matthew 14:13-21; Psalms 18:46-50; Proverbs 9:7-8
OT: “Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please, come near me,” and they came near. “I am Joseph, your brother,” he said, “the one you sold into Egypt. And now don’t be grieved or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead of you to preserve life… God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant within the land and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt.”” (Genesis 45:4-5, 7-8 CSB)
When Joseph’s brothers first appeared in Egypt, Joseph didn’t reveal who he was right away. Before he let them know who he was, he had to first determine if they had come to the realization that their action of selling him into slavery was evil. He wanted to know if they had been convicted of their wrong and were remorseful. So he set up a plot to uncover their hearts. When he finally saw that his brothers’ hearts had changed and that they truly cared for Benjamin his blood brother, he was deeply moved with compassion for his brothers and finally revealed his identity. You can see in Joseph’s explanation to his brothers, that he had long forgiven his brothers for their evil act. His plot was not to get even with his brothers – it was to uncover their heart to see if they could be reconciled to him. It is amazing how much God can heal a broken, wounded, and rejected heart once we set aside our hurt and embrace His purposes.
NT: “When Jesus heard about it, he withdrew from there by boat to a remote place to be alone. When the crowds heard this, they followed him on foot from the towns. When he went ashore, he saw a large crowd, had compassion on them, and healed their sick. When evening came, the disciples approached him and said, “This place is deserted, and it is already late. Send the crowds away so that they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” “They don’t need to go away,” Jesus told them. “You give them something to eat.” “But we only have five loaves and two fish here,” they said to him. “Bring them here to me,” he said. Then he commanded the crowds to sit down on the grass. He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed them. He broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.” (Matthew 14:13-19 CSB)
The phrase “had compassion” (translated in other versions as “moved with compassion”) is one word in Greek. It means a deep, gut-felt yearning. When Jesus heard of John the Baptist’s execution, He was grieved and needed to get away. When He arrived at His secluded spot, there was already a crowd waiting for Him. He didn’t allow His own grief to prevent Him from being deeply moved for the people in the crowd. So setting aside His own needs, He ministered to the people from the grace given Him by the Father through the Holy Spirit. The disciples, most likely tired and hungry from a full day, wanted Jesus to send the crowd away. I wonder if they pretended to have the crowd’s needs in mind, when all they really wanted was to satisfy their own needs. So Jesus, Who had just demonstrated how to truly minister out of compassion, even when His flesh was desiring rest, told His disciples to feed the crowd themselves. He then led them to experience for themselves the all-sufficient grace that He had come to experience. Just as the all-sufficient Father ministered through the physically limited Jesus, Jesus (filled with the all sufficient grace of the Father)ministered a miracle through the hands of the severely limited disciples. Our lack of resources and abilities don’t really matter that much when we have the all-sufficient God working through us. We just need to be willing to be used, and bring Him what little we have. In the end, everyone’s needs were met in a miraculous way. How willing am I to lay aside my physical and or emotional needs to allow God to move me with compassion and move through me with His sufficiency?
Psalms: “The Lord lives — blessed be my rock! The God of my salvation is exalted. God — he grants me vengeance and subdues peoples under me. He frees me from my enemies. You exalt me above my adversaries; you rescue me from violent men. Therefore I will give thanks to you among the nations, Lord; I will sing praises about your name. He gives great victories to his king; he shows loyalty to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever.” (Psalms 18:46-50 CSB)
Again, not to be confused, our enemy is sin, evil, the powers of darkness, and Satan himself. When we make the Lord’s will, word, and ways the bedrock of our foundation, submit completely to Him, and place our trust completely in Him – He will free us from our enemies and subdue them under us. Not only that, but He will exalt us over our enemies. And for that reason, I will thank Him publicly and praise Him loudly.