his brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “behold, we are your servants.” but joseph said to them, “do not fear, for am i in the place of God? [genesis 50:18-19]
are you in the place of God?
you may roll your eyes and think to yourself, “of course not…”
but really think about it.
reading isaiah 66:1-2, consider these questions:
is heaven your throne?
is the earth your footstool?
do you exist outside of the need to rest?
did you create the heavens and the earth?
does what you say cause things to exist?
are you sovereign over all things?
i can’t seem to conceptualize heaven much. the earth seems to be ruling me more than i am ruling it. control is merely an illusion that i try to grasp but never have.
and let me tell you, i am weary. i need rest.
God created the heavens and the earth. he spoke everything into being with mere words. he exists outside of time. he is in control of every conversation, every decision, and every conflict.
yet we always think we humans know best. we are slow to acknowledge God for who he says he is -Yahweh- “i am who i am.” so we blindly attempt to direct ourselves. we try to cling to control. we judge quickly. we think that vengeance is ours to have.
paul makes our role in vengeance very clear in romans 12:
“beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘vengeance is mine, i will repay, says the Lord.’ to the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” [romans 12:19-21]
we, like joseph, are freed from the bondage of fixating on revenge. joseph did not need to seek vengeance, for he knew from deuteronomy that vengeance was the Lord’s. joseph fed his brothers and showed them compassion that eventually helped them to repent.
in joseph’s obedience to God, there is freedom all around. joseph did not feel trapped in trying to seek revenge. the brothers found freedom from their guilt. the all-powerful Yahweh was glorified.
friend, you are not in the place of God. who is that person coming to mind for you as you read this? take a moment to consider how you are trying to take God’s role in that particular situation. are you trying to be God in judgment or vengeance? there is so much freedom in just asking God to help you fear him instead of trying to take control.
returning to isaiah 66, look at verse 3. the God who created the heavens and the earth looks upon his people, as he states:
“but this is the one to whom i will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”
want to spend more time with God in this? check out psalm 51.