This week brings a close to the study of the events of Joseph’s life. His father, Jacob, has died and been buried. Joseph and his brothers have returned to Egypt. Interesting to see what transpires next:
- It can be difficult to forgive ourselves. Upon returning to Egypt, fear raises up in the brothers. Fear that Joseph would now seek revenge. After all this time and all which Joseph had done for them all, wot they fear his revenge.Â I couldn’t help but wonder if they had not forgiven themselves for what they had done. Maybe it wasn’t so much that they wondered if Joseph had forgiven them but if they had forgiven themselves. And don’t we sometimes do that in our relationship with God? We know He has forgiven but we are still haunted by our own guilt. Oh that we would fully embrace His forgiveness today.
- It’s all intended for good. Joseph assures his brothers that he is not going to harm them. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.” (Genesis 50: 20, NLT) Perhaps this is reminiscent of Job for you as well as me. Remember God was the one who suggested to Satan the sifting of Job. Satan had to continually get God’s permission in order to bring each calamity upon Job. The end result was a more intimate understanding of God’s character. “In Christ, we are NOT at the mercy of the enemy’s evil plots.” (Lara Williams, the author of this study). It’s a hard truth for us as none of us want to go through hardships. May we remember … God is sovereign over all which occurs in our lives.
- We have been empowered to resist the enemy. We may have an enemy but our God did not leave us on our own to contend with him. He has empowered us to resist the enemy. In reading Ephesians 6:10-18, we have been given an armor which enables us to stand firm. It may FEEL like we are wrestling flesh & blood but in actuality the battle is greater. May we be fully dressed from head to foot.Â
- Words have power. “So he [Joseph] reassured them by speaking kindly to them.” (Genesis 50:21b, NLT) In all his suffering, Joseph had received strength from God, continually learning about his God. He offered to his brothers, the same comfort and encouragement he himself had received. May we also speak kindly to others, sharing with them the comfort we have received.
- We will not be destroyed. We read in Exodus 1:8, of a new king coming into rule who knows nothing about Joseph and all he has done. This new king fears God’s people, who have grown both in number and strength. We do much the same when we don’t take the time to truly know others. We can fear them or dislike them or misunderstand them. May we take the time to know not only those around us but those who may be different than ourselves. Even under oppression and slavery, God’s people continued to further grow in number and strength. Funny the affect oppression has … “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down but not abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10, NLT)
So may I leave you with this song which says it all and the HOPE that fruitful times will yet come in all our lives!