“So Joseph sent his brothers off, and as they left, he called after them, “Don’t quarrel about all this along the way!” – Genesis 45:24.
Looking at the life of Joseph we see that he went through a lot of pain and suffering. In the book of Genesis Chapter 45, he is revealing himself to his brothers for the first time. Instead of being angry at them, he loves them. He even encourages them not to feel guilty or angry at themselves for mistreating him. If you are not familiar with the life of Joseph, his brothers had thrown him into a pit and sold him into slavery. They went back to their father and told him that Joseph was dead.
Now, over 20 years later, Joseph had been enslaved, falsely accused of rape, and imprisoned. He also had been criticized, lied to, and basically forgotten. Joseph had a tough life for over 20 years. When Joseph said goodbye to his brothers as they went back home to bring their father and families to Egypt, he said something to them that was quite unexpected. Instead of saying “safe journey”, or “see you soon”, he instead said, “Don’t quarrel about all this along the way.”
It makes you wonder what they would quarrel about on the way back. Perhaps they would have a heated discussion on how they would explain to their father that Joseph was not dead but alive. They probably had an interesting dialogue on how they would have to admit what they had done all those years before and even who to blame. Having been promised that the best that Egypt could offer would be available to them, maybe they could have argued about how they might take maximize advantage of Pharaoh’s offer.
Although Joseph hadn’t seen his brothers for many years he knew their characters and temperament and the potential there was for disagreement. His advice was, therefore, well-founded. It is also possible for us to quarrel on the way. Human nature can result in quarreling at home, at work, or even in the local church. In church especially, we should be in harmony. Scripture gives a very clear indication of the reasons why quarreling takes place: “for you are living your lives dominated by the mind-set of the flesh. Ask yourselves: Is there jealousy among you? Do you compare yourselves with others? Do you quarrel like children and end up taking sides? If so, this proves that you are living your lives centered on yourselves, dominated by the mind-set of the flesh, and behaving like unbelievers.” (1 Corinthians 3:3 TPT) James 4:1 (TPT) adds, “What is the cause of your conflicts and quarrels with each other? Doesn’t the battle begin inside of you as you fight to have your own way and fulfill your own desires?”
As we embark or continue on our spiritual journey, Joseph gives us some excellent advice. Don’t quarrel along the way. Rather be a peacemaker.
- When we quarrel, we always think “I’m right.” Why do you suppose that is so and how can we learn to regard the other person’s feelings/viewpoint as equally important?
- Read 1 Corinthians 3:3 and 1 Timothy 6:4-5. What do they tell us about how and why we quarrel?