Forgive | Discipleship Prayer Day 23

And give me strength to truly forgive those who do the same to me.

There may be no other person in all of Scripture more like Jesus, than Joseph.

  • Sold as a slave by his brothers (Gen 37).

  • Thought, by his father, to have been teared by pieces by a lion (Gen 37).

  • Years of slavery and imprisonment in Egypt (37, 39-41).

  • Falsely accused of assault and rape (Gen 39).

  • Forgotten and abandoned by people he trusted (Gen 40).

Joseph had all kinds of reasons to be bitter toward his brothers…and others. No, let’s be more honest – Joseph had every reason to be angry, revengeful, and full of hatred. Perhaps you are wondering how, up to this point, Joseph is anything like Jesus?  Keep reading.

As Joseph finds himself forgotten in an Egyptian dungeon, the story takes a twist worthy of a well-written movie thriller.

  • Joseph becomes an interpreter of dreams and gains the favor of the Pharaoh, eventually becoming the second most powerful man in all of Egypt (Gen 41).

  • During a time of severe famine, Joseph is put in charge of the storage and administration of all the grain in. Egypt (Gen 41).

  • Due to this famine, Joseph’s brother find themselves forced to seek food in Egypt, from Joseph (Gen 42).

  • Joseph holds the lives of his brothers, and their families, in his hands. Not only that, but he holds the life of his father Jacob—and along with him the fate of God’s chosen people, Israel—in his hands (Gen 42-44).

The scene is set for Joseph to exact his revenge.

What will he do and how will he do it?

How would I do it?

How would you do it?

Much to our surprise, Joseph does something completely unexpected as he reveals himself to the same brothers who had “sold him for dead” years earlier:

  • “…[the brothers] were terrified in his presence” (Gen 45:3). No kidding…

  • Joseph tells them, “…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… (Gen 45:5).

  • “God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance… (Gen 45:7).

  • “I will provide for you…” (Gen 45:11).

  • “And he kissed all his brothers and wept over them” (Gen 45:15).

It’s an amazing story of forgiveness and salvation, of a man who faithfully endured hardship and was used by God in a mighty way as a result.

The story is quite finished yet, however.

Culturally speaking, Joseph’s brothers knew that they were safe as long as their father, Jacob, was alive. “Surely,” they like thought, as it would have been common practice of that day, “now that father is dead Joseph will pay us back for the evil we have done” (Gen 50:15).

But yet again, Joseph displayed the heart of God, unlike few other people in all of Scripture by saying to his brothers:

“Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

― Genesis 50:19-21

Joseph was all kinds of Christlike, and he didn’t even know it! The question for us today is this—when it comes to forgiveness, how Christlike am I?

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

― Luke 23:34

On the cross, writhing in pain, Jesus demonstrated something that he had taught them (likely more than once) during their time together:

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

― Matthew 6:14-15

Heavenly Father--just as I desire to be forgiven, and as I have already been forgiven, give me courage, wisdom, and deep agape love to forgive. Amen.