When We Don't Recognize Our Savior: Thoughts On Looking Up

"And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him." Genesis 42:8

For the past few weeks, I've been turning this verse over and over again in my head. 

It's the story of Joseph. HIs brothers had come to Egypt to buy bread during the famine. They faced their brother, the same brother they'd thrown in a ditch and then sold to slave traders. The brother they'd grown up with. But they didn't recognize him. Maybe it was his accent. Perhaps, it was the attire he was wearing. I wonder if he had facial hair that made him unrecognizable. Either way, they didn't know him. But he knew them.

I find this so fascinating. The emotions he must have felt for his brothers while they felt nothing because they didn't know who we was at the time. 

Joseph was at the time his brother's savior. He had the provision they so desperately needed. But they didn't recognize him.

It's easy to dismiss this as minor: It had been many years. They may have even thought him to be dead. Plus, he was treating them like strangers when they came to him.  But this fact wouldn't have been mentioned twice if it was inconsequential. 

"And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him." Genesis 42:8

A few months back, I had been awakened earlier than usual by what felt like a hand on my shoulder rolling me over. Only thing, there was no hand on my shoulder and there was no one awake but me. This happened a few days in a row. A day or two after it stopped, I realized that it had been the Holy Spirit, gently waking me. But instead of recognizing Him, I determined that it was a bad night's sleep or nightmare that roused me awake. I missed my Savior because I didn't recognize Him.

How many times have we all done this? We don't recognize His provision because it didn't come in the manner we thought it would. We don't recognize His Word because it came from a person that we least expected. Sometimes we are face-to-face with our Savior, but we just don't recognize Him.

Those early morning wake-ups have led me to be more sensitive to how Jesus is moving in my life. I've found myself looking up more instead of looking down and around at my circumstances.

"Now Joseph was governor over the land. He was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brothers came and bowed themselves before him with their faces to the ground." Genesis 42:6

It could have been that Joseph's brothers missed the chance to recognize their brother because they were bowing down. A good look in the eyes may have changed everything.

Sometimes we are bowed down with our heads in devotionals and books and sermons or in ministry or volunteer work in the name of Jesus that we don't recognize our Savior right before us. 

My prayer lately has been: Jesus, I don't want to look at You and not recognize You. Help me to look at You face-to-face. Here's to looking up into the face of Jesus.