30 January 2022 PM – Genesis 45 – Ge2022 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Imagine, with me, the conversation Joseph may have had with Asenath his wife on the day he planned to have lunch with his brothers. My dear Asenath, I am so excited. My brothers just returned today. I have plans to forgive them after I test their character one more time. If they are willing to sacrifice for my brother Benjamin, I will forgive them with no resentment. But Joseph, you told me that your brothers hated you and sold you into slavery. Then Mrs Potiphar lied about you, and you spent years in prison. How could you forgive them after they caused 21 years of suffering? Sweetheart, I must forgive them because God used all the evil they plotted against me to prepare me for becoming Prime Minister of Egypt. Without being sold as a slave, I could never have risen to the position where I can save the lives of thousands. Besides, if it has not been for their evil, I would never have married you! But aren’t you bitter toward them for what they did to you? No, they meant it for evil, but God meant it for God. You know, Joseph, I admire your character, your closeness to God, and your trust in God’s sovereignty. I can see that forgiving them IS the right thing to do.
Transition: Joseph gives us an example of forgiving with no resentment that we need to follow. As we ponder the content of this chapter, we find at least six evidences that Joseph truly forgave his brothers with no resentment.
1. What are the evidences of Joseph forgave his brothers with no resentment?
a. His forgiveness came from his heart (v.1-3)
1) He could no longer refrain himself.
2) He wept aloud before his brothers.
3) He revealed his identity and ask of his father.
4) They could not answer because they were terrified at his presence. This mighty man was their hated brother, whom they had sold into slavery. Learning that this man was Joseph may have caused them more fear than all they had yet experienced. He had great reasons for revenge.
b. He desired to restore closeness (v.4)
1) He urged them to come near him. True forgiveness seeks harmony.
2) He told them again who he was, with detail that only he could have known.
3) Pictures of Joseph’s boyhood dreams of them bowing to him flashed before their eyes. Memories of that day 21 years earlier when Joseph begged them not to sell him flooded into their minds.
c. He let their sins go and offered comfort (v.5)
1) Joseph urged them to stop being grieved and angry with themselves that they had sold him into slavery.
2) He let their sin go. He released them from guilt. Forgiveness is a choice of the will.
3) Then he told them that he believed God had sent him to Egypt to preserve their lives.
d. He did not blame them (v.5-8)
1) Because God allowed the evil they had done, Joseph had no bitterness toward them.
2) Joseph told them that the famine, which they hoped would end soon, would actually last another five years (v.6).
3) Three times, he assured them that God sent him to Egypt to preserve life (v.5, 7, 8).
4) God had made Joseph a father to Pharaoh (i.e., his advisor), lord of all Pharaoh’s house, and ruler of all Egypt. Joseph probably told his brothers this, so they could see God’s blessing on him.
e. He assured them of his love (9-13, 22-23)
1) He longed to care for them (love in action). Thus, he pressed them to go tell his father the news (v.9).
2) Then he invited them and their families to move to Egypt, where he would nourish them during the famine (v.10-11).
3) As another proof that he was truly Joseph, he then reminded them that he was talking to them with NO interpreter (v.12).
4) He then ordered that they bring his father down to Egypt to live (v.13).
f. He treated them tenderly (14-15)
1) He cried on Benjamin’s neck.
2) He kissed each brother and wept on his necks.
3) They then had a LONG talk together, catching up on 21 years of news. True forgiveness restores tenderness.
2. How was Joseph able to forgive like that?
a. He was walking in close fellowship with God.
1) This is obvious when we see his response.
2) One of the main reasons Christians struggle to forgive is because they are not themselves walking close to God.
b. He trusted God’s sovereignty.
1) This is a BIG one! God makes no mistakes.
2) Joseph believed that with all his heart.
3. How can we practice this kind of forgiveness?
a. We, too, must maintain a close walk with God.
1) This is critical. Do not fool yourself.
2) We need God’s grace to forgive without resentment.
b. We too must learn to trust God explicitly.
1) This rests on a close walk with God.
2) As we daily study the Scriptures, we must look for God on every page and note His qualities. We must make it our passion to get to know God better every day. This takes diligent effort.
c. We must let God break the offender.
1) Jesus told us in Matthew 18:15-17 that we, the offended, must go to the offender and tell him his fault. However, we cannot force the offender to admit his fault.
2) Joseph waited for God to break the hearts of his sinful brothers.
3) We ought to pray to that end and then wait patiently for God to convict and for the offender to confess it.
d. When an offender will not confess his wrong, then what?
1) We may still forgive in part.
a) We must still forgive in our heart (pt.a).
b) Let the sin go and not become bitter (pt.c)
c) Leave it in God’s hands without blaming them (pt.d)
2) We may not be able to restore closeness, comfort, assure of love, and show tenderness until the offender confesses.
e. When an offender confesses his wrong, forgive him as Joseph forgave, with no resentment.
1) This is possible if we are right with God and trust Him fully.
2) True forgiveness will always be without resentment. If bitterness or resentment remains, we did not truly forgive. Joseph did not forget the pain and suffering his brothers caused him, but he let it go and stopped dwelling on it.
3) Forgiving a severe offence may be difficult, but with God’s grace, we can. In fact, Jesus said we MUST. (Matt 6:14-15) “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.“
Conclusion: In this sinful world, we cannot escape being hurt by others, but we can and must make a definite choice every time to forgive without resentment. If God brings to your mind someone whom you must forgive, do not put it off. Deal with it this evening.