We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Bruce Sampson.
“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.“
Have you ever had to cover up a secret so devastating that the thought of no one knowing brought you more pain the longer you held it in? Today we’re looking at the humility of Joseph, found at the end of the book of Genesis. We’re gonna uncover a kept secret that’s more scandalous than any surprise birthday you’ve ever been trusted with keeping to yourself.
It begins with Joseph’s older brothers coming to grips with a horrible lie that they have kept from their father. You see, their dad always favored their little brother Joseph over them, and their jealousy of Joseph led them to sell him into slavery in Egypt. In order to cover up their lie, they tell their father that he was killed by a wild animal attack. And you thought you had bad sibling rivalry?
Little did they know, God was acting behind the scenes, turning the bad actions against Joseph for the good of others. Joseph’s tragedy in slavery was transformed by God’s triumph over evil when he was promoted by Pharaoh to the place of second in command over Egypt. It wasn’t until years later that Joseph’s brothers meet him again on account of a food shortage in their homeland that forced them to seek out help in Egypt.
Because of Joseph’s new influence he was able to feed his people and save them from starving to death. It wasn’t until after their father had died that they approach Joseph about the criminal act they did against him and to finally come clean.
Yet in “coming clean” they still prove they haven’t moved past their attempts to preserve their own life. The irony is, the brothers were never the ones saving their lives in the first place. It was all God. As Jesus says, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
Losing our lives for God means letting go of our own self interest and looking for the interest of others. It means the secrets and lies that we keep won’t lead to any good, outside of the good God can make from our mistakes. We can’t control the consequences of our wrongs, nor can we control the people we do wrong against.
You see, Joseph wasn’t waiting on his brothers to fix themselves in order to forgive them. Instead, he returns humility despite their failures like Jesus has done for us. The more we can see that it was Jesus who has saved us, we can have the humility to forgive others like He has forgiven us and also face the justice of our past and current wrongs knowing that we can trust in His saving hands.
Thank you Jesus for taking on my mistakes and my shame on the cross. I want to be transformed by your love for me so that I may walk in the freedom of forgiveness. Holy Spirit, empower me each day with humility towards others even when they don’t deserve it because I know you did the same for me. I pray that you will use every act of humility to bring others into a relationship with you God. It’s in Jesus’s name that I pray, amen.
Alright, just like we don’t come to the gym to stare at weights, we can’t just look at forgiveness and not pick it up! Forgiveness starts with an inward decision to release punishment off another person and allow God to be the Judge rather than ourselves. Who can you be the first to extend forgiveness to? Try looking at God and what he has done for you rather than what you are waiting for in that person to do for themselves.
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