When The Time Comes to Divide the Family Estate

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Matthew Henry

“When Providence has removed your parents by death,
the best methods ought to be taken,
not only for preventing quarrels among the children
(which often happens over the dividing of the estate),
but for the preserving of love
so that unity may continue even when that center of unity is taken away.”
– Matthew Henry, Presbyterian pastor and commentator extraordinaire

The only way for believing families to heed this pastoral counsel is by resolving to trust in God’s sovereign hand. How easy it is to fall prey to a greedy, grasping tendency we all have when we are left to ourselves. An alternate path is to rest and trust in God’s sovereignty – He is the blessed controller of all things and, if He is in control, we don’t have to be. If we have a life-giving relationship with the Lord of heaven and earth, do we really need more of this material world and all of its stuff?

In Genesis 50, Joseph reminds himself of God’s sovereignty as he reflects on the evil done to him by his brothers. The center of their family has been taken away. Their father Jacob has died and all of his sons and their families, except Joseph, are in peril due to a great famine in the land. It would be tempting for Joseph to exact revenge at this time. However, he does the opposite.

Read this short account and marvel at the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit in Joseph’s life. The same can happen for you:

15 When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: 17 ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

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