God, Joseph, his brothers, and FORGIVENESS

As we continue to study through the life of Joseph, learning how to connect with God and with others so that we can connect them with God, we get to the need for forgiveness. In order to forgive correctly, we need to understand what forgiveness is so that we can extend it to others. Last week, we learned that when you connect with God, He motivates you to work hard to serve the people around you. As you serve the people around you, you will have opportunities to connect those people with God.

In order to forgive properly, we need to understand the steps of forgiveness. Forgiveness does not happen without first following confrontation. We do not just simply “forgive” people, which is what we are usually taught. The root word of forgiveness in the Greek language is “grace”. Grace means receiving what you do not deserve. As people, we do not deserve forgiveness yet God chooses to offer it to us. Until we experience God’s forgiveness in our own lives, it is nearly impossible for us to forgive others the way that God desires. Yet, once we have experienced God’s forgiveness, it is possible to extend that forgiveness to others, even if they have sinned against us. Paul offered that forgiveness to the Corinthians which opened the door to reconciliation and relationships restored. Does it always happen this way? No, not always. Many times, those whom we confront in love end up turning on us and continue to keep the relationship broken. In this case, the opposite happened and the relationship was not restored. So, confrontation must take place first and then we are able to offer forgiveness. I want to show you how this plays out in Joseph’s life.

We last saw Joseph connecting with God and working hard. God remembered His promise to Joseph. Pharaoh has a dream and has no answer from his wise men that he pays to advise him. Pharaoh is angry and to curb his anger the head cupbearer remembers Joseph and tells Pharaoh about him. Pharaoh demands to see Joseph. Joseph now has his chance to take revenge on the head cupbearer who did not keep his promise. Joseph does not do this. Instead he goes before Pharaoh and introduces him to God. Pharaoh is so impressed that he puts Joseph in charge of the entire country. Joseph now has a chance to pay back Potiphar and Mrs. Potiphar. He does not do that either. In fact, he serves them just like he serves everyone else in Egypt. Joseph worked hard in his father’s house, in Potiphar’s house, in jail, and now as the head of Egypt.

I. God keeps His promise

The 7 years of abundance give way to 7 years of drought which leads to famine. The famine is sever, and Jacob sends his sons to Egypt to look for food. God’s promise comes to pass because in Genesis 42, Joseph’s brothers come and bow down before him, just like the dream that Joseph had all those years ago. Joseph recognizes God’s plan coming to pass. Joseph still needs to forgive his brothers but he does not do it immediately. He treats them the way that God treats people.

II. Joseph acts according to God’s character

Joseph had his chance. His brothers were at his mercy. He could have had his cold, sweet revenge but he chose to view them as God views them. He had compassion on them. He had mercy on them. Mercy means not giving them what they deserved. They deserved punishment for their action. He extended grace to them. Grace is getting what you do not deserve. They did not deserve mercy or compassion but Joseph extended them. He has not forgiven them yet. He still has to confront them first.

III. Joseph confronts and forgives his brothers

In Genesis 4344, we see Joseph confronting and testing his brothers to show them what they had done to them. He is preparing to forgive them. He wants to forgive them yet this confrontation and test must take place first. In Genesis 45, we see the culmination of the situation. After confronting his brothers, Joseph finally reveals himself to them and extends forgiveness to them. He tells them that what they meant for evil, God used for good, to carry out the plan that He revealed to Joseph all those years ago. He sends his brothers back home to bless the rest of the family and bring them to Joseph and Egypt. When Jacob hears that his son, Joseph, is still alive, he moves his entire family to Egypt and Joseph’s mother and father bow down before him, just like in the dream that God revealed to him all those years ago. It comes full circle. Joseph had connected with God and he lived by God’s character, having compassion on sinners, offering them mercy and grace, confronting their sin, and then forgiving them.

What about you my dear friend, are you able to forgive the people around you? If you cannot forgive them, why not? Have you connected with God? Do you realize that God has already had compassion on you, extended mercy and grace to you so that He can confront your sin and forgive you? If you have experienced God, then you act like Him, seeking to treat others the way He has treated you. May the Lord help us learn to see people the way that He does.

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32 comments on “God, Joseph, his brothers, and FORGIVENESS

      • That’s easy. Do you presume the fetuses were guilty? Or the infants? You claim to be an anti-abortionist, but your god character, based on the evidence, is the most successful abortion doctor in history.

  1. Sorry to interfere, responding instead of Erik.

    It is scientifically proven that children carry on several behavioral dispositions of their parents.. God judged there was only Noah, and his relatives under his good care, with a heart set on Him to not have to face punishment for sinning.

    God being the Author of Life, the Wind that gives us breath, He is Allmighty to Judge how to separate the right from the wrong without error and question.. Amen.

    • You have the real answer,

      God knows the intention of the heart of man, and saw there was only evil, to cause the flood. Children educated by evil parents will follow them and chose evil.. Fataly.

      Babies in gestation were bound to this awful fate so God intervened as He saw fit.

      Will you complain to your maker, your Author to have the Authority of Judgment..?

      • “Bound to this awful fate”.. so drown them? Your moral compass is broken.

        Why is it that your god character always seems to rely on retards like Erik Brewer to spread it’s message?

      • “Bound to this awful fate”.. so drown them?”

        So drown them. Yes.

        I have no word in this event, for my moral character to be called into question. I am simply stating facts as they are recorded in the Biblical Scriptures, as you asked.

        Is God a cruel tyrant..?

        Interesting read for you here, right on this topic :

        http://carm.org/god-of-old-testament-a-monster

      • Your morality comes into question because you choose to worship a god character which you yourself accept is a murderer.

        A few points about your cruel tyrannical leader:
        1. A) It murdered innocent infants by drowning
        1. B) It murdered a TON of people besides the above
        2. It set up Adam and Eve for failure with apparently 100% precognition
        3. It created Hell
        4. It set the rules by which a person could own people as property
        5. It set up a system whereby misogyny, xenophobia, and homophobia have become the norm.
        6. It proclaimed the origins of the Universe and life itself without evidence
        7. It instructed someone to murder their own child
        8. It allowed Satan to ruin Job’s life
        9. It apparently has made you think the above is all justified
        10. It made retards like Erik Brewer the torch bearer of the entire doctrine

        Name one DEMONSTRABLE positive thing this religion has achieved that secularism can not.

      • As always, there are tons of holes in your argument. Before we begin, could you answer one question for me, “how do you feel about abortion, is it a fundamental right of a woman or murdering and human?” Please give an honest answer on that one.
        • Is paying the appropriate price for your crime right or wrong?
        • Free will is not setting people up for failure. Do you disagree with people having free will?
        • Hell was not created for humans. They choose it on their own free will.
        • God does not condone slavery. That is a lie that I have already debunked.
        • Disagreeing with a dangerous lifestyle is not the same thing as hating the one who practices the lifestyle.
        • There is plenty of evidence for the origins of the universe. One being that the universe exists.
        • God never told anyone to murder his own child. If you are referring to Abraham, He told Abraham to offer Isaac to God. By the way, Abraham did not kill his son Isaac.
        • God restored everything back to Job, double. Job also gained an intimate understanding of God that he lacked before all of his trials.

        Morality!!!

  2. As far as slavery goes:

    “Slavery forms a vital element of the Divine Revelation to man. Its institution, regulation, and perpetuity, constitute a part of many of the books of the Bible …. The public mind needs enlightening from the sacred teachings of inspiration on this subject …. We of the South have been passive, hoping the storm would subside …. Our passiveness has been our sin. We have not come to the vindication of God and of truth, as duty demanded …. it is necessary for ministers of the gospel … to teach slavery from the pulpit, as it was taught by the holy men of old, who spake as moved by the holy Spirit …. Both Christianity and Slavery are from heaven; both are blessings to humanity; both are to be perpetuated to the end of time …. Because Slavery is right…and, too, because their Maker has decreed their bondage.”

    Guess who wrote that? If your answer was an evangelical pastor, you’d be right. It was on January 27, 1861, three months before the start of the American Civil War that Ebenezer Warren, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Macon, Georgia, delivered a sermon titled “Scriptural Vindication of Slavery:”

    Guess who wrote this:

    “… because certain writers on politics, morals and religion, and some of them highly respectable, have advanced positions, and inculcated sentiments, very unfriendly to the principle and practice of holding slaves;.…These sentiments, the Convention, on whose behalf I address your Excellency, cannot think just, or well founded; for the right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example.”

    If your guess was Richard Furman, president of the South Carolina State Convention of Baptists in 1823, you’d be right. He wrote on behalf of South Carolina Baptists to the governor of South Carolina about slavery.

    So I actually have to agree with Erik that the Bible doesn’t explicitly endorse slavery. It’s the Evangelical pastors who used the Bible to justify slavery.

    Just as Erik and his Evangelical propagandists use the Bible to justify anti-gay propaganda, even though the Bible never mentions homosexuality.

    The Bible is a very interesting book. If you know it’s passages well enough, and your audience is dumb enough, you can use it to justify just about anything.

    Talk about morality?

  3. Lie #22: Anti-Gay theology is based on hate and conflicts with God’s command for Christians to love each other.

    “Anti-Gay theology is simply a re-labeling of the traditional interpretation of the scriptures which prohibit homosexual acts. Proponents of “Pro-Gay” theology have aimed to discredit traditional interpretations of scripture and characterize homosexuals as victims of hate. The hate has allegedly been perpetrated by a conspiracy of narrow-minded, conservative theologians and anti-gay Christians whose sole purpose is to vilify gays and deny them their due rights as human beings.

    Contrary to what the conspiracy theory suggests, Bible translators over the centuries were focused primarily on accurately translating the scriptures, not in singling out one group of people to vilify. Prohibitions against homosexuality are typically mentioned in context with many other forms of sin, including adultery, fornication and incest. If we were to say that the gays were being singled out, then other people who sin could also claim victim status (all of us!).”

    Source, Biblically BASED :

    http://www.porn-free.org/homosexual_truth_lies.htm

      • So you now claim that two “straight” men are having sex with each other yet are not homosexual. Are they bisexual? To compound their sin, not only are they practicing fornication and homosexuality, they are also participating in pagan rituals.

      • I’m sure it was mostly straight men who went to the Temple to perform the pagan fertility rituals.

        Let’s take a closer look at Paul, his experiences and the historical and cultural context of that time.

        We know several things about Paul, and one was that he was not a big fan of sex of any kind, He said so himself:

        “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”

        Quite a ringing endorsement of marriage. I would venture that Paul was asexual and any type of sexual relations were abhorrent to him.

        Now Paul comes to Rome, and his followers in Rome probably told him to come during the Megalesia, the largest festival to Magna Mater, the fertility Goddess Cybele, beginning on April 4. They probably said to each other “Wait till he sees this!!” He would have watched as the flamboyant Galli priests with painted faces and other celebrants marched with flutes and drums up the Palatine Hill to the Temple grounds. Outside, on the Temple steps, plays and songs were performed, dedicated to the Goddess. If he turned around, he could view down in the valley chariot races performed in Her honor at the Circus Maximus. Walking inside the Temple, he would see the celebrants engaged in the fertility rituals which included lots of wine, animal sacrifices, and sexual intercourse. A statue of the Goddess Cybele with her lions and snakes was brought in and hoisted to the altar as the Galli priests, castrated males, performed sexual relations with men. Now we need to remember that these castrated Galli priests were performing their required duties as Cybele’s priests. It’s doubtful they were homosexual since it was not only their paying job but considered an honorable position. The men who they serviced were family men who believed that this was necessary for both soil and family fertility,

        Along comes Paul, who is predictably quite shocked by what he sees. So he writes:

        “Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

        But what was shocking to him was as natural to them as going to church every Sunday is natural to us. He was witnessing rituals that had been practiced for a thousand years.

        Was any of this homosexual in nature to them. I’m sure it was not. It was not sin. On the contrary, it was what they believed to be the required ritual to ensure their survival.

      • Gary..

        Scriptures denouncing homosexuality as a sin of unlawful sexual relations, by God’s own Word, came within two vastly different eras and cultures, nullifying the argument it was a culturally bound prohibition, for a specific Pagan ritual taking place..

        If you were right, adultery, incest, bestiality,ALL mentioned in the very same verses and context were also prohibited for their sole purpose of offending Pagan rituals, and should be acceptable today with gay sex just as much as a regular form of “love”, following that logic of yours..

        What fertility celebration rituals, homosexual sex is obviously at the opposite end of fertility to honor it in any way, shape or form..

        “Exchanged” is used 3 times by Paul.. This is, unarguably, a seemingly permanent decision, ie people living a homosexual lifestyle.. You have right there the condemnation of our contemporary homosexuality, by God’s Holy Spirit speaking through Paul, for believers..

        It is hurting how far one can go using their own assumptions, to suppress the Truth, to be right in their own eyes..Hurting!

        How can you argue the only blessing God gives for sexual relations is for hetrosexual, monogamous and committed relations, as Christ affirmed and confirmled is beyond any sound reason, and definiyely your own porblem and responsiblity to deal with, should you surrender your human ego to God.. Amen.

      • Christian57,

        I think it’s actually quite ironic that pagan rituals meant to instill fertility in men to increase their ability to produce children could be construed as homosexual activities.

      • Homosexual activities ARE sexual relations occuring between members of the same gender.. What else?

  4. Erk, I’ll answer respond to your concerns as best I can:

    1. I support women’s rights to govern their own bodies.
    2. Paying the appropriate price for a crime is correct, but simply proclaiming what is appropriate punishment is absurd.
    3. Your “free will” concerns are non-sequitur. Are you saying your god character didn’t know that the Adam and Eve characters would screw up? Couldn’t your god character conceive of a better way to operate? Same goes for drowning fetuses and infants.
    4. You haven’t debunked the slavery issue at all, Erk. The Bible clearly states the rules by which a human may own another human as property.
    5. As far as your “lifestyle” issue: A) your teachings are manifesting in reality as homophobia, and B) instead of only preaching abstinence, you could be even more useful by teaching safe-sex as well.
    6. Abraham and Job were severely mistreated by your god character whether it all worked out in the end or not. He terrorized them first.

    Your ability to make a bunch of excuses to justify your harmful mythology does not make it any more palatable. And the fact is that just because your bigotry is wrapped in religion does not make either a positive force.

    Name one DEMONSTRABLE positive thing this religion has achieved that secularism can not.

    • 1.I support women’s rights to govern their own bodies.
      a. If this is your stance then why would you even consider complaining about children drowned in a flood? This makes you a hypocrite. Based on secular humanism, killing babies is okay because of the evolutionary idea of survival of the fittest.

      2.Paying the appropriate price for a crime is correct, but simply proclaiming what is appropriate punishment is absurd.
      a. What is the appropriate price for taking someone’s life? Who determines it?

      3.Your “free will” concerns are non-sequitur. Are you saying your god character didn’t know that the Adam and Eve characters would screw up? Couldn’t your god character conceive of a better way to operate? Same goes for drowning fetuses and infants.
      a. Either you are for or against free will. The arguments is based on the stance that you take. So, which is it?

      4.You haven’t debunked the slavery issue at all, Erk. The Bible clearly states the rules by which a human may own another human as property.
      a. Have you not read this?

      6.Abraham and Job were severely mistreated by your god character whether it all worked out in the end or not. He terrorized them first.
      a. Do bad things not happen to good people all the time?

      Morality is the One demonstrable thing.

      • 1. No, I’m not a hypocrite. I’m exposing your double standard, and your special pleading.
        2. We do as a society, no need for your ancient superstitious beliefs.
        3. Are you saying your god character is incapable of a better solution? Please elaborate.
        4. No. I’ve read Exodus.
        5. You skipped this one. Why?
        6. Yes. Why does your god character partake?

        Your moral compass is broken.

        NAME ONE DEMONSTRABLE GOOD THING YOUR RELIGION ACCOMPLISHES THAT SECULARISM CAN NOT, PLEASE.

  5. Erk, I reject your religion’s attempted monopoly on morality. The teachings of your religion have manifested in an enormous amount of harm to society for way too long for you to make that claim. Try again.

      • There is no evidence that a god or god exists therefore I cannot honestly follow your flawed premise. I was using your own cult’s flood myth as an example of the double standard and special pleading it relies on.

  6. Erik, I’m going to afford you a lot of credit for a moment. You can move this post to another section if appropriate, or ignore it altogether if you choose. I’m fairly certain that you are a decent person. We obviously disagree on a number of points. I do appreciate your taking the time to have these discussions with me. My main issue, which I think I’ve made very clear is our differing interpretations of scripture. I honestly believe you are making a large amount of excuses for a lot of harmful doctrine presented by your book. What bothers me is the way that biblical teachings have manifested in society; homophobia, misogyny, slavery, xenophobia, and you’ve made it clear that you do not believe that your book promotes these things. What I want to extend to you is this: if you honestly believe that your biblical interpretation is correct, and you are in fact teaching people that things such as homophobia, misogyny, violence, slavery, xenophobia are negative forces in society then I want to thank you. I strongly disagree with your science denialism, but you’re already aware of that. While there is no doubt in my mind that you are going to continue to preach as fact what I consider mythology, I’d like to encourage you to continue doing so in a fashion that more strongly disassociates christianity from the negativity that myself and many others attribute to it, and more strongly condemn attempts to justify said negativity. I’ve mostly said what I have to say on these topics and I think that continuing to do so would be beating the proverbial dead horse. I wish you luck in your demonstrably positive endeavors, and leave you with a sincere and honest question; one with which I do not intend to argue with you over, but am purely curious about your interpretation:

    What is your interpretation of Numbers 7:11 – 31 insofar as it refers to “The Test for an Unfaithful Wife”? I assume this test is not to be taken literally, so what should we gather from these verses?

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