Sermon Reflections based on from Cosmic Interpretations, Galactic Forgiveness | Alex Hardt | January 28, 2024
What a wonderful way to end our series on Joseph and God’s goodness. Redemption and Forgiveness are at the heart of the gospel and were so well demonstrated in the story of Joseph. Our memory verse, Genesis 50:20 shouted out to us each week the truth of God’s sovereignty, goodness and omniscience. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Pastor Alex began with Genesis 45:1-4 where the story of Joseph’s revelation of himself to his brothers shows his great humility and love for his ‘lost’ brothers. During a great famine in the whole land, Joseph’s brothers had journeyed to Egypt to buy grain. (Joseph had interpreted a dream Pharaoh had concerning 7 good years and 7 lean years. Pharaoh believed Joseph and put him in charge of the plan to keep them all alive during the 7 lean years. Genesis 41.) In chapter 42, Jacob sent his sons to Egypt to buy grain but did not allow his youngest Benjamin to go with them. While buying grain they encountered Joseph but did not recognize him. He required that they leave one of their brothers there and bring their youngest brother to him to verify their story, he had accused them of being spies. Then Joseph had his servants put the silver they had paid for the grain with back in their sacks. When the brothers discovered this, they were terrified and decided not to go back. Well, the famine continued and they eventually needed to return. The fact that Jacob’s youngest, Joseph’s brother, was required to go troubled Jacob immensely. All he could think about was how he had lost Joseph and feared losing Benjamin too. Judah promised that he would bring Benjamin back or die trying. When they appeared before Joseph this second time, they were very afraid of his retribution for the ‘stolen’ silver. Joseph as overcome with emotion at their meeting and said in Chapter 45:4-5 “ Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 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.”
After all that had transpired, Joseph had seen God’s hand in all that God had allowed to happen. He did not have hatred or revenge in his heart but overwhelming love. Joseph had seen God’s provision from the pit to the palace. He knew from experience God is sovereign and omniscient! He tried to relay this to his brothers, but they had not made the journey from pit to palace and did not understand Joseph’s love and compassion.
Our life’s journey gives us opportunities to see God in action, experience His love, compassion and forgiveness first hand. If we allow Him to work in our lives we are enriched in both faith and character. Joseph is a wonderful example to us of God’s power of sanctification and how He grows and matures us in our faith. Joseph wanted restoration of his family and reconciliation with them not revenge.
Joseph is an example to us of the power of forgiveness. His life was transformed from possible bitterness and hatred to love, acceptance and longing for his brothers and father. Forgiveness is transformative to each of us on the inside. It works it wonders by making us better in Christ. We can accept hurts, betrayal, wrongs and hatred and let them go. Christ will take those and replace them with love and kindness. Letting go frees us and gives us a new pathway in Him. Joseph certainly had a new pathway with his brothers and father and whole family who come to be cared for and settled in the land of Goshen.
Where are your pathways leading you? Are you moving forward with forgiveness by embracing Christ? God promises forgiveness in Christ, Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Through forgives we are free to serve Him, Psalm 130:4 “But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you.” Our memory verse from our study of 1 John was 1:5 “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” Forgiveness in Christ brings us into God’s light and the darkness is dispelled! Praise God!
1 Timothy 6:17 wisely speaks to us and I see Joseph lived by these principles. “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.”
Joseph kept his focus on God. May we do likewise and experience His providential care, forgives of sins and love.
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