GUILT AND FORGIVENESS
When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph bears a grudge? Then he will surely repay us for all the evil that we did to him.” So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Before he died, your father commanded, ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I beg you, please forgive the transgression and sin of your brothers, for they did you wrong.’ So now, Joseph, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. His brothers also came to him, bowed down before him, and said, “We are your slaves!” But Joseph replied, “Do not be afraid. Am I in the place of God? As for you, what you intended against me for evil, God intended for good, in order to accomplish a day like this—to preserve the lives of many people. Therefore do not be afraid. I will provide for you and your little ones.” So Joseph reassured his brothers and spoke kindly to them. —Genesis 50:14-21
Jacob was 130 years old when he arrived in Egypt (Genesis 47:9) and he lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven (Genesis 47:28). So Jacob had 17 years with Joseph in the beginning of Joseph’s life and then 17 more years he was with Joseph at the end of his own life. After Jacob died Joseph’s brothers thought that he would surely get even now! Think of this. Joseph had taken care of them for 17 years and they still believed Joseph was holding a grudge against them. For 22 years before Joseph revealed himself to his brothers they were carrying the guilt of what they had done to him. Now for 17 more years they were still feeling that guilt to the point where they still believed Joseph would one day take vengeance upon them! Guilt, even forgiven guilt, can raise havoc with one’s mind.
Joseph saw the bigger picture of what God was doing and this would be helpful for us to ponder, especially if someone has done harm to us. Joseph looked at what his brothers did to him and said, ““Do not be afraid. Am I in the place of God? As for you, what you intended against me for evil, God intended for good, in order to accomplish a day like this—to preserve the lives of many people. Therefore do not be afraid. I will provide for you and your little ones.” God took what was intended for evil and He used it for good. God placed Joseph in the right place— Potiphar’s house— and used the evil that Potiphar’s wife intended toward Joseph to put him in the right place— prison— and worked through the dreams that Pharaoh’s cup-bearer and baker had. Then at the right time— 2 years after the cup-bearer was re-established to his position—- God gave Pharaoh dreams and the cup-bearer remembered Joseph. So 13 years after being sold by his brothers he was exalted to 2nd in command of all Egypt— the place God had foretold through the dreams that He gave Joseph years later (Genesis 37:5-11). God’s plan came to pass!
Do not think that going through difficult times is a waste of time or that God has forgotten you. Continue to serve Him and trust Him to work out His purposes. He is doing just that as He did in Joseph’s life. Remember that “everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Are you in a difficult situation? Take courage and continue to be faithful to Him. He is working for Your good! His plan for your life will come to pass! Wait on Him! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsQmsEE_2-s
Dear Father whether in good times or difficult times may I trust You fully. I know You are working. You are always working and I do not see so much of what You are doing. May I be faithful to those things I know in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.