road to Goshen in Genesis

The road to Goshen: a brotherly love that changed history.

You’re probably familiar with the book of Genesis and the story of Adam and Eve. But there’s a second story in the first book of the Bible that gets less attention, although it’s just as – if not more – significant to human history. It also happens to be a story in the Bible that grabbed my heart and deeply moved me more than almost any other, second only to the life of Jesus Christ. It is the story of Joseph, his brothers, and a brotherly love that was so powerful it helped shape the nations.

I won’t repeat the entire story in detail here, because it’s best to read it yourself. In summary, Joseph’s brothers sold him to the Egyptians when he was a child out of jealousy over being their father’s favorite. Despite being sold into slavery, he was still prosperous in life, earning favor with King Pharaoh thanks to his ability to interpret his dreams. Based on his interpretation of one significant dream, the King appointed Joseph as chief administrator of Egypt.

Famine, forgiveness, redemption and love

Years later, when a famine strikes the land, Joseph’s brothers journey from Canaan to purchase food from the Egyptians in Goshen. Joseph meets with them to negotiate the sale of some grain, and at first, he disguises his identity after recognizing his brothers. When he eventually reveals himself and embraces his brothers (whom he loves dearly, despite their past transgressions against him) they are shocked. He then invites all of them, together with his father (whom he also hasn’t seen for many years), to leave Canaan and come to live in Egpyt where they will be provided for. They accept and are given a parcel of choice land in Goshen by King Pharaoh. It is a story that demonstrates the profound nature of brotherly love, but it is much more than that: it’s a love story that changed the course of history.

If Joseph had hardened his heart against his brothers, as they honestly deserved after what they did to him as a child, the family would have starved and their name would have died off there. They thrived through a seven-year famine because of forgiveness and a love that sin could not break. It’s very similar to God’s love for his people, and God used Joseph to demonstrate that love. Joseph embodied and manifested it. His heart pulled the strings that figuratively and literally set human history in motion.

road to Goshen in Genesis

So, what does all this have to do with boxing? Frankly, nothing. But it has everything to do with choices and consequences, with forgiveness and redemption, and it demonstrates that despite our often terrible choices in life, God always makes things right. In the case of Joseph and his brothers, he didn’t just make things right; He worked through these men to write the entire first chapter of His people.

Establishing the twelve tribes of Israel

The love Joseph had for his brothers was the catalyst that established the twelve tribes of Israel. Because he forgave them and because he provided a way for them, Joseph’s family was able to thrive in Egypt until God leads them back home in the book of Exodus. So, in short, God took the sin of Joseph’s brothers and used it for something great, which is what God always does. He breathed His own nature, His same spirit, into Joseph to manifest His will on Earth and establish the twelve tribes. One of those tribes, of course, was the tribe of Judah, which was the tribe of Jesus Christ.

This story moves me to tears every time I revisit it. Can you imagine what Joseph’s brothers must have been thinking when they realized Pharoh’s highest official was the brother they had betrayed all those years ago? I also can imagine Joesph’s restraint as he concealed his identity during the long, awkward dinner they shared. Everything came to a climax when his emotions overtook him, because he loved his brothers so much he became physically overwhelmed. At the turning point of the story, Joseph throws his arms around his long-lost brothers and weeps so loudly that the entire Egyptian palace and court hear his cries.

The road to goshen

Consider, also, how greatly Joseph’s brothers’ lives were changed from that first journey to Egpyt to buy grain just to survive compared to the day they made the final trip to go settle there. The road to Goshen had been long for them. They’d spent their entire lives one way, then in a matter of days, they all experienced complete, life-altering forgiveness and the depth and breadth of brotherly love, and ultimately, God’s love.

Things could have turned out very differently. Joseph could have hardened his heart because of what his brothers did to him as a child, and honestly, he’d have every right. He’s a better man than I would have been in his place. But God only assigns us what we can manage. He gives us tasks that only we can accomplish, and when we obey and fulfill them, great wonders are willed into the Universe.

The rest, as they say, is history.