Tag Archives: forgiveness

Fear not: For am I in the place of God?

For many scholars and ministers, who look at Jacob’s family album and  deliverance God brought through Joseph, forgiveness is the big theme. Joseph is honored for his great forgiveness.  I think forgiveness is a little easier than people think. It relies on God. For me,the Joseph record is the story of God’s great love and provision.

The true exercise and action of man are in trusting and believing God. Genesis is filled with records of people that sojourned through the wilderness of life, physically, mentally and spiritually, to ultimately find the wellspring of grace that was really right there all the time. Jacob’s sons were no exceptions.

Genesis 50:14-21
And Joseph returned into Egypt, he, and his brethren, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father. And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.  And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. 

And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

After all the ways God showed His love during hardship and famine, despite the poor relationships, envy, strife, evil intentions, immorality and lack of trust; Joseph’s brothers still worried that they were in big trouble having fear of what would happen to them. Have you ever thought this way? Joseph reminded them how God turned all of it for their good. God is what resided in and kept Joseph’s heart. God was available to them too.

It is interesting listening to ourselves when we talk about God.  We may talk in chapters, verses, formulas and quotations, pontifications and special language. We talk fast, slow, loudly, quietly, intensely or cautiously about God. If we listen to ourselves long enough the ‘trust factor’ starts to become visible. It shows in the above conversation in Genesis 50. The ‘trust factor’ is not that we’ve proved every jot and tittle of the Bible. It is about our relationship with God. Bottom line is just what Jesus Christ told us in the gospels:

Matthew 22:35-41 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

 
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God is Real!

Just recently, I was reading a book by Jay Adams, From Forgiven To Forgiving.  It is a tremendous book and many of his points reminded me of the Joseph record in the Old Testament. Several years ago, I did a study on Joseph, one of the sons of Jacob. Many chapters in Genesis are devoted to the events in this man’s life. His life was not easy but to his credit he is described as a man on whom the spirit of God resided. Perhaps because of this he had huge challenges, but through them all God guided and strengthened him as he handled them one by one. He is an amazing example of how forgiveness is brought about. He handled things God’s way.  He had the humility to not try to outdo God and thus was able to be an instrument of true deliverance.

Forgiveness is a much written about subject. There is no question in my mind that the adversary wants to muddle and twist people’s ideas in this particular area.

Ephesians 4:32 (King James Version)And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

‘Even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you’.  That sets the standard. Jesus Christ died for our sins once and for all.  This doesn’t mean we have to be crucified to serve God but it does mean that we have answers to life’s challenges and that we extend those answers to others. When we teach God’s word to others and help them to apply God’s word to every situation we are ‘kind’.

Joseph’s goal was restoration.  His brothers were pretty much a mess and had displayed very cruel behavior toward him in the past.  God worked in Joseph’s heart to help facilitate the change that was necessary to cause them to see what changes they needed to make. God knew how to handle them and Joseph carried it out.  God knew also that Judah would change and he showed Joseph how to bring that out. The whole record takes place over a substantial amount of time. Several steps were needed. At one point Joseph spoke roughly to them and threw them in prison. It was there that they started to admit their lives had not been sterling and they repented of what they had done to their brother. It is a great record, one to be digested and re-digested.

God is real and he knows the best way to deal with life’s issues. In the age that we live in of secular humanism, we need to take heed to a man like Joseph and how he did things. Our relationships with others should be based on truth, not feeling. Our goal is to help others come up and out of the quicksand of this world. It is  a world of competition, strife, ambition, greed and control. We can’t just do that by patting someone on the head and saying nice things. We need to help people by giving them the words of God and telling them how Jesus Christ stood in the gap for us and that we have full access to the throne room of God. That is the promotion of true forgiveness!

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