And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. Genesis 45:3
The emotional climax to Joseph’s story was this sudden revelation to his brothers. They had thought Joseph was a horrible, terrifying tyrant because he had treated them like strangers and scared them to death. Even though he had left them many clues, they couldn’t imagine any kindness hidden under his hostile appearance. But then he came straight to the point. Without using an interpreter, he said, “I am Joseph!”
This story is a beautiful example of how God treats his faithful people. He sometimes punishes us and acts as if he weren’t our God and Father. Sometimes he even appears to be a tyrant or strict judge who wants to torture or even destroy us. But at the right time – when he is ready – he will say to us, “I am the Lord your God. Up to now, I treated you as if I wanted to reject you or send you to hell, but it was only an exercise I use to train my people. I never would have trained you this way if I didn’t love you from the bottom of my heart.”
In this Bible story, God shows us the training methods he uses with his people. This should comfort us. We must get used to the way God tests and instructs us. We also should humble ourselves so that the horrible evil called original sin may be restrained. God doesn’t want to condemn or reject us, even when our suffering and punishment nearly destroy and kill us. Rather, he wants to sweep away the sin that clings to us. Only then will we understand what God means when he says, “The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up” (1 Samuel 2:6).
The Bondage of the Will, Luther’s exposition on the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, laid the groundwork for Reformation thought. It shows us a humbling view of ourselves while strengthening our faith in Christ.
The Ambassador Classics series brings the greatest classic works of Christian history into a single set. It includes unabridged works by Martin Luther, John Bunyan, John Calvin, A. T. Pierson, John Owens, C. H. Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, J. C. Ryle, R. A. Torrey and many others. This series will continue to enrich and deepen your faith in Christ.