Ancient Words: The Spirit of Jesus, Joseph the Forgiver – El Dorado News-Times


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Jacob had a life filled on all fronts with deception. Other events in Jacob's life also contributed to great sadness: The wife he loved the most would die giving birth to his last son, Benjamin; the son he loved the most, Joseph, would be purported as dead by all of Jacob's older sons for 15 years. Yet, Jacob was loved by God and used in a powerful way to develop an amazing story of love and forgiveness fashioned in the life of his 11th son, Joseph, leading to the nation Israel and to God's only begotten son.

We are not encouraged to become like Jacob in his deception, we are encouraged to become like Joseph in his forgiveness. Imagine being hated by your brothers, imagine your brothers so full of hate that they want to kill you. This was Joseph! Jealousy was rampant because of the father's love, hate was conceived because Joseph was special---special to Jacob and special to God: So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt. When Reuben returned to the cistern and saw that Joseph was not there, he tore his clothes. He went back to his brothers and said, "The boy isn't there! Where can I turn now?" Then they got Joseph's robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, "We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son's robe." He recognized it and said, "It is my son's robe! Some ferocious animal has devoured him. Joseph has surely been torn to pieces." Then Jacob tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days. All his sons and daughters came to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. "No," he said, "I will continue to mourn until I join my son in the grave." So his father wept for him. Meanwhile, the Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the guard. (Gen 37: 28-36 NIV)

Joseph remained true to his family and true to God over the next 15 years. His persecution continued in spite of his innocence and God's hand remained on Joseph as he found himself 2nd in command of all Egypt: Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, "Have everyone leave my presence!" So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh's household heard about it. Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph! Is my father still living?" But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come close to me." When they had done so, he said, "I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. "So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. Now hurry back to my father and say to him, 'This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don't delay. (Gen 45:1-9 NIV)

Joseph said: "Tell my father about all the honor accorded me in Egypt and about everything you have seen. And bring my father down here quickly." Then he threw his arms around his brother Benjamin and wept, and Benjamin embraced him, weeping. And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them. Afterward his brothers talked with him....... I will give you the best of the land of Egypt and you can enjoy the fat of the land.' Gen 45: 13-18 NIV

The Spirit of Christ was present in the life of Joseph--is the Spirit of Christ present in ours? A great deliverance awaits...

Scott and Jane Johnson minister with East Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible questions can be sent to [email protected]

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