Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for May 19

Here’s the Explore the Bible Sunday School lesson commentary for May 19, written by Mark Rathel, professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida.

Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for May 19

RECONCILE?

Genesis 45:1–15

Reconciliation is a beautiful concept. Families can become reconciled after experiencing difficulties. Our English term “reconcile” has the connotation of the restoration of friendship or harmony.

In the Bible, reconciliation may be vertical (reconciliation with God) or horizontal (reconciliation between estranged human beings). Joseph and his brothers were reconciled as they recognized God working to heal the ruptured relationships among the brothers.

I am Joseph. (1–3)

Reconciliation involves an emotional experience due to the causes of relational breakdown. Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery but in God’s plan, Joseph had become a key leader in Egypt.

Joseph could no longer conceal his relationship with his brothers from the other leaders. He sent his servants away for this sensitive attempt at restoration with his brothers who had wronged him by selling him into slavery.

Both the Egyptians and members of Pharaoh’s household heard Joseph weeping. Joseph acknowledged his family relationship with the brothers. He inquired if their father was still alive.

The brothers were probably terrified because they would expect Joseph in his high position to take revenge upon them.

God sent me. (4–8)

Joseph challenged his brothers to not be grieved or angry with themselves because the Sovereign God had a purpose.

Joseph described God’s action twice. First, Joseph said that God had sent Joseph to Egypt to preserve life. Perhaps Joseph communicated that God enabled him to save the family but also other inhabitants of Egypt. At this point, there had been two years of famine, but Joseph told them that the famine would last five more years. Second, Joseph said that God sent Joseph to establish the family as a remnant within the land and to keep the family members alive.

God sent Joseph to Egypt to place him as “father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” As God had a plan for Joseph to be in a place to help preserve the family, likewise God has a plan for our lives.

As I near retirement, I can look back upon my life and see God working in the small details and the big issues. It is hoped that many Christian adults will share their journey of faith with their family and neighbors. Joseph testified that God had raised him to his position of influence and rule to bless others as well as his family.

Settle in Goshen. (9–15)

What the brothers intended for evil, God used for good. Joseph was in a position of leadership that allowed him to take action to preserve the family members but also to reunite the family. Joseph commanded his brothers to travel to Jacob and bring him to Joseph. Joseph understood God’s plan.

Through his position, he could save and protect the family. Joseph urged his family to settle the family, flocks and herds in the land of Goshen. Goshen was close enough to Joseph that he as a key leader in Egypt could protect and look after the family and grant them provisions during the famine.

Furthermore, Goshen was well known as grazing land. According to Exodus 9, the descendants of Joseph were protected from the plague of hail because they were in Goshen.


By Mark Rathel
Professor at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, Florida

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