Thursday, November 3, 2011

Don't Quarrel


The Old Testament stories are so familiar to so many of us. We have heard them told and retold since we were old enough to sit on those little wooden Sunday School chairs. However, the truth is, no matter how familiar a passage of scripture may have become, if we listen closely the Spirit will whisper something new.

The story of Joseph is one of those familiar ones. I reread it the other day and found a few words I had never noticed before. They were tucked into Genesis 45, the moving scene where Joseph finally reveals his identity to his brothers. He has given them ample provisions for the journey back to Canaan - back to a father who doesn't know that the son he thought dead for so many years is still alive.

As he watches them go, Joseph gives them these parting instructions:

"Don't quarrel about this along the way!"
Genesis 45:24

They had just experienced grace and mercy beyond anything they could have imagined. Thinking they would be dealt with in the severest of ways, they found instead love and forgiveness. This brother, whom they had sold into slavery, had not only forgiven them he had saved their lives and the lives of everyone in their families.
Was it possible they would quarrel about it?

I have learned not to judge the lives of others too harshly. The minute I do, I am reminded of my own failures and failings. All too often they are precisely the ones I find so distasteful in others.

How often have I received grace when I deserved condemnation only to turn right around and begin to grumble and complain about something else? Or the times I have been forgiven only to try to justify my part or blame the whole thing on someone else? Or, having received forgiveness, continue to rehash the past with "if onlys."

Surely there were things the brothers could have quarreled about. Joseph knew that it would do no good to argue about past wrongs. It was a time for new beginnings. He had given them that - a full measure of grace and forgiveness.



  1. I remember those old wooden Sunday School chairs, and the dear lessons I learned while sitting on them. You're right though, God's Spirit continues to whisper new lessons into old truths. I remember seeing those two words, "Don't quarrel," and having a similar reaction. He knows what we need to hear.

  2. My early church class was on the back seat of a one-room building, and oh the wonderful things we learned from the Bible! Also, I can remember pictures from Daddy's big Bible.

    Your writing made me think of the scripture taken from Ecclesiatstes 7, verses 21 and 22:...
    "take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: for oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others."

    God bless you, Linda

  3. I remember my Sunday school class with those little wooden chairs and a stern teacher that I was so afraid of. I love that from the time I was old enough to listen I was taught the word of God. No matter how far I have strayed from the Lord it's knowing His truth is the only way that has always brought me back.

  4. nice...yes there are some quarrels that just distract us from what is truly important...

    sunday school...i remember sword drills and little wooden people given as awards

  5. What an apt word to share with us today.