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Today we continue our series entitled, “Faith and Patience Volume IV — The Wonder Twins.” I am using Joseph as an excellent example of our need for patience. We are seeking to learn from the different phases of Joseph’s life. Let’s get into it.
(James 1:2-4 TPT)
2 My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can!
3 For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things.
4 And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 ERV)
There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time.
(Genesis 45:1-3 MSG)
1 Joseph couldn’t hold himself in any longer, keeping up a front before all his attendants. He cried out, “Leave! Clear out—everyone leave!” So there was no one with Joseph when he identified himself to his brothers.
2 But his sobbing was so violent that the Egyptians couldn’t help but hear him. The news was soon reported to Pharaoh’s palace.
3 Joseph spoke to his brothers: “I am Joseph. Is my father really still alive?” But his brothers couldn’t say a word. They were speechless—they couldn’t believe what they were hearing and seeing.
Setting the stage.
Yesterday we looked at how Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and I highlighted some of Joseph’s parallels to Christ. This morning, let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the 10 brothers. These were men who had sold Joseph into slavery over 20 years before our text.
The brothers were sitting there in awe, and they did not know how to feel. Part of the them wanted to be happy. Part of them was afraid. The man who had been giving them a hard time for months, the man with the power in his hands, the man with all the authority in Egypt, was now also the man they had done wrong. When Joseph revealed himself, the initial shock of his reveal sent a surge of fear and angst through their bodies. I have heard many preachers bring this out. However, many do not focus on the fact that the brothers also felt a sense of relief.
For over 20 years, the brothers thought the mistake they made as young men was fatal. They lived with the fact (at least to their knowledge) that they were responsible for the death of one of their brothers. They lived with the guilt that they had caused their father much grief and pain. Every time their father brought up Joseph’s name, they probably replayed the event – Joseph screaming from the pit for mercy and begging them not to sell him as a slave – in their minds. They lived with emotional and psychological baggage. And then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, a man that sat in the position of power in Egypt had just revealed himself to be their long lost brother. Wow! Think about that. Joseph, as it turns out, was not dead after all.
Joseph still being alive meant that they no longer had to live with the guilt of his death looming over their heads. What they had feared the most actually never happened. Joseph would later reveal to them that this entire episode worked out for the good of the whole family. This was one of those “almost too hard to believe” moments. Not only was Joseph alive, but he was weeping uncontrollably, not because of pain or anger, but because of love. Joseph was overwhelmed with love for his brothers. Joseph’s tears, from the perspective of his brothers, were tears of REDEMPTION!
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. Instead of punishing us, God redeemed us!
The Bible says that while we were yet sinners, Jesus died for us (Romans 5:8). Instead of giving us what we deserved as payment for sin (punishment), God sent His own Son to die in our place. He paid a price we could not pay for a debt He did not owe. Jesus redeemed us with His own blood.
We serve a God to extends to us grace and mercy. Grace is when God gives you the good you do not deserve; you have not earned. Mercy is when He withholds the punishment you clearly deserve; punishment you have certainly earned. Joseph extended grace and mercy towards his brothers. Instead of punishing them, he chose to bless them. Instead of lashing out in anger towards them for what they did to him, Joseph cried tears of joy just because he was in their presence. He loved them so much that he wept uncontrollably. That’s how it is with God and us.
God does not bless you because you are good. God blesses you because He is good and because He loves you. He blesses you by grace. His mercy for you is new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). If God only gave us what we deserved, we would all be men and women most-miserable. Thank God for His grace and mercy!
2. You don’t fully accept forgiveness until you forgive yourself.
Joseph forgave his brothers. However, for them to walk in the fullness of his forgiveness, they were going to have to learn to forgive themselves. If we do make a mistake, God has given us a way to deal with it. John said, “If we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away” (1 John 1:9). The challenge often comes, however, after we receive forgiveness from God. What’s the use of receiving forgiveness from God if we are going to walk around in guilt and shame?
As we have read the story of Joseph and his brothers, we have seen how (several times) it has been revealed that the brothers were living with the guilt of what they had done to Joseph. And they were living with this guilt and shame for over 20 years. One of the greatest lessons God ever taught me was how to forgive myself after He had forgiven me.
When you do something wrong, and you repent, you must learn to 1) receive forgiveness from God or the person you repented to, 2) forgive yourself, and 3) move on with your life. You cannot enjoy your present or your future if you keep living in the past. One of the most liberating things in life is forgiving yourself.
Your history is not holding you back from your destiny. God is not judging your future by your past. So stop beating yourself up. Learn to be easy on yourself. You are not perfect, but God has chosen to use you. Let Him! Stop fighting His love and grace. Accept His forgiveness, forgive yourself, and move on!
3. It’s never too late for God.
After living with guilt and shame for over 20 years, all of a sudden, out of the blue, in one moment, Joseph’s brothers received forgiveness from the brother they had done wrong. Not only that, but this brother was crying uncontrollably because he loved them so much. That’s how it is with God.
It’s never too late for God. It does not matter what you have done, if you are still living, if there is blood still flowing through your veins, if there is air still flowing through your lungs, then God is not through with you. You still have hope. There is nothing impossible for God.
Take a moment to think back to those things that you had given up hope on… think back to your broken dreams and aborted aspirations… think back to the missed opportunities and forfeited chances… now believe God to put LIFE back into those DEAD situations. Believe God to REVIVE that which was lost. Believe God to restore to you the burning desire you once had to do whatever it was that you once dreamed of. It was not too late for Joseph’s brothers, and it is never too late for you!
4. God can restore the time that was wasted or stolen.
We serve a God who can redeem the time. No matter how old you are and no matter how many years you believe you have lost, if God resurrects a dead dream, He can still make it happen. God can restore to you the time that was lost by your bad decisions or stolen by the decisions of others. Joseph’s father, Jacob spent 20 years working for his father-in-law. Laban had changed his wages 10 times in that span, each time making sure he was getting rich and not Jacob. But God redeemed the time. God gave Jacob and idea, and when he implemented it, he made more money in year 21 than he had made in the previous 20 years combined. There is nothing God can’t do! Open your heart to believe on His level! He can redeem the time!!!
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I know that nothing is too late for You. You can turn any seemingly hopeless situation around in a moment. I repent of the sin and the mistakes I made in my past. I receive forgiveness from You, and I also receive the power to forgive myself. As a forgiven believer, I move forward with the anticipation, desire, dreams, and hope that I once had. You revive that which was once alive in my life, and I now live in expectation of manifestation. GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!