A Daily Genesis

Genesis 45:1-3

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 45:1-2 . . Joseph could stand it no longer. Out, all of you! he cried out to his attendants. He wanted to be alone with his brothers when he told them who he was. Then he broke down and wept aloud. His sobs were so loud that the Egyptians could hear, and so the news reached Pharaoh's palace.[/B]

The brothers have repeatedly proven their integrity, their family unity, and their filial loyalty. Joseph could gain nothing more conclusive than Judah's impassioned plea by additional stratagems; and by now, his own emotional tension was becoming overwhelming; even for a big strong man like himself, and it was all he could do to order his entourage out of the room before totally losing his composure right in front of everybody.

I can well imagine the shock and confusion that Joseph's housekeeping staff must have felt when their normally rock steady, no-monkey-business master broke down and began sobbing like a little girl who just lost her favorite Barbie down the garbage disposal. They had probably never once seen the second highest man in Egypt make an open display of emotion like this before; and the palace grapevine was instantly abuzz about it.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 45:3a . . I am Joseph: he said to his brothers. Is my father still alive?[/B]

That question is so unnecessary that it makes no sense he would even ask. The brothers had mentioned Joseph's dad no less than fourteen times up to this point. Reading between the lines, and given the stress of the moment, what Joseph actually said was: Is my father really, really still alive!? And I don't think he asked that question of his brothers; but of himself; like a lottery winner who asks themselves: I won!? Me!?

I think, that as the years in Egypt accumulated, Joseph had given up his dad for dead and fully expected never to see him again. The news of Jacob's continuing existence has been just beyond belief, and way too good to be true. No doubt some of us feel very strongly that the world would be a much better place to be rid of our own dads; but not Joseph. He enjoyed a normal relationship at home, and was in fact his own dad's favorite son over all the others.

Joseph was a very fortunate man to have lived with a dad who filled his developing years with love, nurturing, attention, and acceptance. Some of us, your host included, have no clue what that must be like; and never will. I've seen a report online indicating that upwards of 80% of prison inmates were victims of child abuse. Following are some interesting "father" facts.

Only about 50% of America's kids will spend their entire childhood in an intact family. 24,000,000 children in America sleep in homes where their natural fathers do not live.

Approximately half of the kids in the United States will live in a single parent home at some point before the age of 18.

Nationally, 40% of kids whose fathers live outside the home have zero contact with them. The other 60 percent have contact an average of just 69 days during the year.

Kids from father-absent homes are 5x more likely to live in poverty, 3x more likely to fail in school, 2 to 3x more likely to develop emotional and behavioral problems, and 3x more likely to commit suicide.

Up to 70% of adolescents charged with murder are from fatherless homes; and up to 70% of long-term prison inmates grew up in a fatherless home.

People like that can't be expected to connect with Joseph's feelings for his dad. Reading this section in Genesis is about as emotional an experience for them as reading the Wall Street Journal. I'm not criticizing; I'm only pointing out that it's difficult for some people to relate to this section of Genesis all because they were emotionally mangled in the meat grinder of a affection-starved childhood.

[FONT=Garamond][B]NOTE[/B][/FONT][B]:[/B] The physical growth of thousands of North Korean children is being stunted by malnutrition; while here in America where our cities' homeless eat like kings in comparison, the emotional development of thousands of children is being stunted by filial neglect and indifference. I really don't know whom to say is the worse off . . NK children or US children.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 45:3b . . But his brothers could not answer him, for his sudden emergence was making them palpitate.[/B]

I think part of their internal shivering was due to the fact that they instantly realized that this man, whom they assumed was a foreigner, knew their language and perfectly understood everything they had been discussing in his presence all along. Coupled with that was their instant terror that their long-lost kid brother was in a pretty good position for revenge: to do unto them as they had done unto him. And the brothers were utterly powerless to prevent him from doing so.

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