Live Like You’re Forgiven
“So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And [Joseph] reassured them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:21
No Old Testament character typifies Jesus Christ in more ways than Joseph. In fact, Arthur Pink draws over 100 parallels in his classic, Gleanings in Genesis: beloved by their father, hated by their brothers, falsely accused, considered criminals, exalted to a high position, and brought deliverance to their people, to name just a few.* None of those connections, however, squeeze my heart like the one recorded in Genesis 50.
Joseph’s brothers and his father, Jacob, had been living in Egypt for seventeen years when Jacob blessed his sons on his deathbed (Genesis 49). After the burial and mourning, the brothers feared Joseph would finally pay them back for selling him into slavery (Genesis 50:15).
They’d lived under their guilt for twenty-five years in Canaan, never fully accepting the forgiveness Joseph had given them. They continued to carry their guilt after Joseph revealed his identity in Genesis 42, told them they were forgiven, and then demonstrated his love for the rest of their lives.
Joseph could’ve forgiven them, sent them back to Canaan with sufficient supplies, and ignored them. But he didn’t. He brought them to Egypt, provided them with a livelihood, and pursued a relationship with them.
When his elder brothers came to him after Jacob’s death, fearful that he’d exact the vengeance they assumed he always wanted, Joseph wept. Why? He was overcome by their inability to live like they were forgiven. He had forgotten; why couldn’t they?
How often do we act like Joseph’s brothers? We live in fear that somehow, in some way God will make us pay for past sins. We refuse to accept the forgiveness Jesus purchased for us at such great cost. How his heart must ache over such ignorant, ungrateful behavior.
Jesus could’ve redeemed us, then sent us down life’s road alone. But he refuses to do that. In love, he seeks an intimate relationship with us. And he pushes us toward our potential because he is determined to complete the good work he has begun in us (Philippians 1:6).
What wondrous love is this! Not only forgiven but also befriended and
beloved. May we live victoriously, in the forgiveness and friendship that
Jesus’s death and resurrection provided.
Read Genesis 50:15–26. More than fifty years elapsed between verses 21 and 24. Do you think the elder brothers had finally learned to accept Joseph’s forgiveness? Why or why not?
Read 1 John 4:7–21. How can we love as Joseph and Jesus loved?
Denise K. Loock
This devotion is featured in Restore the Hope: Devotions for Lent and Easter available at Amazon.com.
*Gleanings in Genesis is well worth the $.99 you invest to download it onto your Kindle :http://www.amazon.com/Gleanings-Genesis-Arthur-Collection-ebook/dp/B008CM51IY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1364426186&sr=8-3&keywords=gleanings+in+genesis