Joseph's ten older brothers found themselves in an interesting position after their father died. Had Joseph merely spared their lives in regard for their father's feelings? Now that he was gone, would they at last have Joseph's wrath fall upon them? He certainly had good reason to take all their positions, sell them into slavery, lock them up or even execute them for what they had done to him. They deserved neither mercy or grace let alone forgiveness. In fear, they sent a message to Joseph reminding them that their father had asked that he forgive them.
The Bible tells us that Joseph wept when he received the message. Years had passed since they had arrived in Egypt and yet they did not seem to understand that they were forgiven. He wished them no ill-will and in fact, wanted to be in relationship with them, not as their judge or a master over them but as their loving brother!
His brothers then came to him and threw themselves down before him and in total surrender offered themselves up as his slaves.
But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? Genesis 50:19 (NIV)
Joseph recognized that regardless of what had been done, he was neither judge, jury or executioner. That was God's place, not his. If anything needed to be done, God would do it.
Sigh... often we act like we are the King but in reality we are children wearing paper crowns of our own making. We want to call the shots, decide what is right and wrong, what is fair and just and even deliver and carry out the sentence.
The lie from the lips of the serpent sounds reasonable enough. It was also very reasonable and appealing to Eve. Rather than be the beloved daughter of the King, she could be like him and perhaps ... even stand in his place and be the King! She could become the ruler of her own destiny, make her own decisions, insist that things be done her own way and that is exactly what happened. Looking at the world around us it is plain to see that hasn't worked out too well for humanity has it.
We do not belong in the place of God. Simply put, we are not God. Contrary to what we might think we are neither powerful enough, smart enough, just enough, loving enough, etc. The list is endless. With our lips we might be saying, "I know." but far too often our actions say otherwise. If you don't agree, think about how often you do what seems best and right to you without even bothering to consult with God. Better yet, how often have you been 100% aware that what you are about to do (or not do) does not please God and you do exactly as you please regardless?
We would do well to recognize God's place... and get back into our own.
Scripture quotation from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.