The announcement “I am Joseph” fills the brothers’ hearts with fear and trembling. Here they see their brother, who they thought was dead, whom they hated, rejected and basically murdered. He does not live alone, but he is lord over everything. Here too he is a picture of the Lord Jesus (Heb 2:88You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.).
Joseph opens his heart in goodness and love for the brothers. He tells them that their evil deeds have led him to that place! Their rejection has been the means to give him that position. God has so governed it. There is no vengefulness at all with him.
The certainty that the will of God, not of mankind, governs everything, will keep us from vengefulness or bitterness and, on the contrary, will make us ready for reconciliation. The spiritual man can recognize the hand of God in all events and is therefore able to forgive him who wrongs him.
That in no way reduces the evil they have done. But “the LORD is greater than all the gods; indeed, it was proven when they dealt proudly against the people” (Exo 18:1111Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods; indeed, it was proven when they dealt proudly against the people.”). God has used what man meant to be evil for good. This is also the case with the Lord Jesus, Who was delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God on the one hand and killed by the hands of murderers on the other (Acts 2:2323this [Man], delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put [Him] to death.).
Here we see what will remain a mystery for man forever. On the one hand we see the responsibility of the human being, which can and will be fully charged to him. On the other hand, we see the counsel of God, in which He gives a place to what man does in evil, without declaring man less accountable to it.
The joy that fills Joseph’s heart is the joy of the shepherd who has found his lost sheep (Lk 15:66And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’). The brothers were given the joyful task of going to get their father and telling him “of all my splendor in Egypt, and all that you have seen”. That is also a task for us: to tell God the Father all we have seen of the glory of the Lord Jesus.
Joseph rewards his brothers good for evil (Mt 5:4444But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,). He takes care of them and their families for the remaining five years of famine. Above all, they may be close to him.
Joseph points out that they see and hear him. They did not see and hear a vengeful brother, but one who showers them with blessings and promises them many more. He does everything to take away their fear. Their eyes see his glory, their ears hear his promises, their hearts feel his warm love when he falls around their necks and kisses them warmly. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1Jn 4:18a18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.). Of his former hardness nothing is noticeable anymore.
When they are so overwhelmed by all his proofs of love and goodness, their tongues come loose. That’s how it works with us. A heart overwhelmed by the love of the Lord Jesus cannot remain silent. Where the heart is full, the mouth of it runs over, both toward God to honor Him and toward the people to tell them what He has done to our souls.