Leaving the Past Behind
Gen. 45:24 Then he sent his brothers on their way, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Do not quarrel along the way.”
In very emotional scene where Joseph reveals himself as the long lost brother of these men standing before him. He is overcome with emotion and begins to sob as he lets his brothers know that he is the one whom they had sold into slavery to many years before. However, he makes it clear that he has forgiven them and that God has used the circumstances to change all of their lives!
Joseph provides them with all that they need to go home but encourages them to return with their father. All that they need is now in Egypt and Joseph will care for them. However, Joseph knows these men all too well! He knew that they would dig up the past, his presence being a reminder of the terrible deed they had done so long ago. The finger-pointing would be a part of their entire journey home; “It was your idea,” “Well, you took him out of the well and sold him!” etc.
So, the final word of instruction from Joseph was, “Do not quarrel along the way.” Why? Because God had taken what had happened in the past and turned it around and used it for good. Why keep digging up the past? It’s time to move on and celebrate in the here and now.
This is a very stereotypical thing to say but I believe that women have an extraordinary ability to remember all the crazy things from them past and remind our spouses of them when we’re in an argument! We remember the crazy stuff like the time he got upset over the type of peanut butter I bought (and yes, that was more than 30 years ago!). This statement by Joseph is a premonition of what we would later hear from Jesus. The world is supposed to look at God’s followers and know that we are Christians by the way we love one another.
How often do we keep bringing up things from the past? God has forgiven us and we are to move on in the newness of life. However, while God might forgive us, we don’t always do very well at forgiving one another. We love to keep bringing up the past and quarrel about it along the way. Joseph’s instruction to his brothers is a good instruction for you and for me. God knows us all too well — just as Joseph knew his brothers all too well. It’s time to forgive one another just as Christ has forgiven us and stop quarreling.
What purpose would it have served had his brothers continued to quarrel? None whatsoever. What purpose does it serve for me to keep bringing up the fact that my husband didn’t like the peanut butter I bought one time thirty years ago? None whatsoever — except to create dissension.
Stop quarreling along the way. There is no reason to continually rehash the past. It’s time to move on and to allow the loving forgiveness of Jesus to wash over every relationship and bring healing.
Lord, help me to leave the past behind. Amen.