Self-revelation/self-disclosure in Genesis 45 – by stk
1) Joseph's self-revelation to his brothers in Genesis 42-45 was progressive, first as their lord and then as their brother. So also it is with the Lord: "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom..." (Psalm 111:10), but its end is love, for "...perfect love casts out fear..." (1 John 4:18). We must first come to Christ as Lord before He reveals Himself as Friend (John 15:14-15). His progressive self-disclosure is ever onward; it is a rising tide.
2) Joseph's choice of self-revelation was predicated on their heart condition. Chapters 42-45 are an elaborate setup to determine their heart condition: would they betray Benjamin the way they betrayed Joseph 24+ years earlier? When he saw the change in their heart condition (Judah offered himself instead of Benjamin) Joseph could restrain himself no longer and revealed himself as their brother, not just their lord. In a similar way the Lord's self-revelation is predicated on our heart condition. "With the kind You show Yourself kind, with the blameless You show Yourself blameless, with the pure You show Yourself pure, and with the perverted You show Yourself astute" (2 Samuel 22:26-27). How He reveals Himself to us, and in what aspect, will depend on our heart condition before Him. "So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12).
3) Joseph's self-revelation was private, personal. In 45:1 he made everyone else leave before he made himself known to his brothers. Likewise, our personal encounters with Christ are always personal and private. Each testimony of how we first came to Christ is unique, and every successive revelation of Himself in our individual walk represents a secret history with God, who chooses to reveal Himself to each of us uniquely (Luke 10:21-22). Such experiences can only be shared with those who have a similar heart condition, calling on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22).
4) When his brothers' self-loathing caused them to be dismayed at his self-revelation, Joseph bid them come closer (45:4-5). Likewise, when in the course of our daily walk our sins make a separation between us and our God, the solution is given in James 4:8, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded." Why? Because only those with clean hands and pure hearts "may ascend into the hill of the Lord" (Psalm 24:3-4). But how? "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you...that's what self-revelation is all about. “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
5) In order to enjoy the best that Joseph's self-revelation had to offer them, the brothers were told, "Do not concern yourselves with your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours" (45:20). Likewise, if we are to enjoy the vast ocean of God's self-revelation, we must not content ourselves with the pebbles along the shore - the Giver is greater than the gifts He bestows. "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not a mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that He understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord..." (Jeremiah 9:23-24). Only as we plumb the depths of God through the Spirit who is from God (1 Corinthians 2:12) can we freely give what we've freely received (Matthew 10:7-10).
6) When Jacob heard of Joseph's self-revelation, it says that his spirit revived (45:27). That word literally refers to the stirring up of embers that have been buried under the ashes. This is the effect of God's own contemplation of His Son, in whom His soul delights (Isaiah 42:1). Not only is Christ the bread from God (John 6:32), He is also the bread of God (John 6:33). Christ is that which sustains the Father's vitality, and vice versa (John 5:26). The Son lives because of the Father (John 6:57), and the Father feeds on the Son, as was portrayed in the Old Testament sacrifices (Numbers 28:2); together they exist in perfect interdependence. This is the mystery of Godhead, but it is also the effect of Christ's self-revelation in the life of the believer. As He discloses Himself to us as the living Word by whom the Father has spoken in these last days (Hebrews 1:1-3), we find Christ to be the honey that brightens the eyes (1 Samuel 14:24-30), the living water that refreshes the weary spirit (Judges 15:14-20), the One who revives the spirit of the lowly and the heart of the contrite (Isaiah 57:15).
7) After hearing that his son was still alive, Jacob couldn't wait to see him for himself and to experience Joseph’s self-revelation in person (45:28). Not only does our heavenly Father look forward to the final unveiling of His Son's glory, but we too have this blessed hope in view: “… the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" (Titus 2:13). "...We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is" (1 John 3:2). “And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll, the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend! Even so – it is well with my soul!” (Philip Bliss). "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known" (1 Corinthians 13:12). “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). –stk, 02/01/04