Read Genesis 45:16-28
16When the news reached Pharaoh's palace that Joseph's brothers had come, Pharaoh and all his officials were pleased. 17Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Tell your brothers, 'Do this: Load your animals and return to the land of Canaan, 18and bring your father and your families back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.'
19"You are also directed to tell them, 'Do this: Take some carts from Egypt for your children and your wives, and get your father and come. 20Never mind about your belongings, because the best of all Egypt will be yours.'"
21So the sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them carts, as Pharaoh had commanded, and he also gave them provisions for their journey. 22To each of them he gave new clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five sets of clothes. 23And this is what he sent to his father: ten donkeys loaded with the best things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain and bread and other provisions for his journey. 24Then he sent his brothers away, and as they were leaving he said to them, "Don't quarrel on the way!"
25So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26They told him, "Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt." Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them. 27But when they told him everything Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts Joseph had sent to carry him back, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28And Israel said, "I'm convinced! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go and see him before I die." (NIV)
In this passage, we see grace at work. Joseph’s brothers are receiving so much more than they deserve. There is forgiveness and restitution involved. It is ironic in a way that one of the dividing points between Joseph and his brothers was the coat Jacob gave to Joseph. Now Joseph is giving to his brothers new clothing. One has to gather that the clothing Joseph presented to his brothers is finer than what they were wearing.
Being clothed in new garments is a theme we see in Scripture and in our theology. One of the images we have of taking on Christ’s righteousness is that we put on that righteousness like a cloak. The image is we wear it. When the early Christians were baptized, they were baptized in the nude. The men and women were separated, thus women baptized women and men baptized men. But right after the person was baptized, they were given a new garment to put on and milk and honey. The new garment representing new life and the milk and honey representing the promised land and thus new life. This is the grace given to Joseph’s family – a new place to live, a new life and a new identity as people who no longer have to worry about life’s everyday toils.
There is one interesting statement Joseph makes to his brothers as they leave. In verse 24, Joseph tells them not to quarrel on the way. Think about that for a moment. Joseph is reminding them once again to forget the past. Forget who might have done what. Forget who was wronged and who wronged who. This is part of grace and a new life. The old is gone. And when we dwell on the old, we go back to live in the sin we have left behind. We allow the old life to affect the new life. God is always looking forward in our lives, not backward. God is a God of life.
Do you feel clothed in the righteousness of Christ? Is that an image that speaks to you at all. Do you feel like the past is no longer there to haunt you or do you still argue with yourself about the past? It is easier said than done. But in Christ, we must let go of the past and embrace the future that Christ offers us.
Blessings and Peace