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.” Genesis 50:15
When Jacob died, the brothers were gripped with fear (50:19). “What if Joseph turns against us?” they thought. “Maybe he was just being kind to us for the sake of the old man, and now that he’s gone, we could be in trouble. It may be that he will hate us and pay us back.”
It had been seventeen years since the marvelous day when the brothers were reconciled with Joseph. The brothers didn’t doubt that Joseph loved them seventeen years ago; but they wonder if he still loves them now. They speak of “the evil that we did,” which means even though they had been forgiven, the memory of what they did still rose up at times to haunt them.
So the brothers sent a message to Joseph that before he died, Jacob said, “Say to Joseph, ‘Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you’” (50:17). After they sent this message, they came in person and offered themselves as Joseph’s servants.
How did Joseph respond? “Joseph wept when they spoke to him” (50:17). Why did he weep? He wept because they did not believe that he really loved them. If you really love someone, and they don’t believe you really love them, it makes you sad.
Now think about this in relation to God. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Think of the grief in the heart of God when we still find it so hard to believe that He loves us.
John Owen said, “The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to Him is not to believe that He loves you.”
Have you ever experienced this? Is there someone in your life who doesn’t (or didn’t) believe you really love him or her?