so joseph said to his brothers, “come near to me, please.” and they came near. and he said, “i am your brother, joseph, whom you sold into egypt. and now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. [genesis 45:4-5]


“come near to me, please.”

it is such an intimate moment. the brothers lean in close, anticipating joseph’s next words.

joseph finally reveals his identity. he does not proclaim it from the rooftops, but shares it softly and tenderly. there is no bitterness. no pointing of fingers. no vengeance.

instead, there is abundant mercy ~ “do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.”

joseph is quick to relieve the brothers from any shame they may be tempted to feel. it is easy to slip into shame when confronted with our ugly sin, especially when we can see the hurt that it has caused for other people.

feeling shame makes us want to hide. it would be easy to hide from their shame by blaming one another, arguing between themselves, or just leaving joseph’s presence. joseph proactively commands them not to feel ashamed, as he does not want his brothers to hide from him -or worse, from God- in their shame.

what is a situation in which you were confronted in your sin? where did you hide? where are you hiding now?

brothers and sisters, espn and netflix do not satisfy. a clean home does not fulfill. scrolling leaves us empty. a busy schedule does not forgive us. a boss’ approval withers away. our strength quickly fades in our attempts to prove ourselves on our own. none of these are meant to be hiding places from our sin.1

Jesus is our refuge. he is the only One who satisfies us. he alone is our salvation. he is our hiding place. he yearns to reveal his identity to us in quiet whispers as we sit before him in joy-filled repentance.

meditate on this psalm with the Lord, the God who spared no expense so that you could always find him and be with him:

blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,

    whose sin is covered.

blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,

    and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

for when i kept silent, my bones wasted away

    through my groaning all day long.

for day and night your hand was heavy upon me;

    my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. selah

i acknowledged my sin to you,

    and i did not cover my iniquity;

i said, “i will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”

    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. selah

therefore let everyone who is godly

    offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found;

surely in the rush of great waters,

    they shall not reach him.

you are a hiding place for me;

    you preserve me from trouble;

    you surround me with shouts of deliverance. selah

[psalm 32:1-7]

Jesus extends the same offer as joseph did: “come near to me, please.” God sent Jesus before us to preserve our eternal lives. will you come near to him today and experience deliverance from shame?


~ jm