Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said. But Joseph said to them, “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 50:15-21 (MSG)
After the funeral, Joseph’s brothers talked among themselves: “What if Joseph is carrying a grudge and decides to pay us back for all the wrong we did him?” So they sent Joseph a message, “Before his death, your father gave this command: Tell Joseph, ‘Forgive your brothers’ sin — all that wrongdoing. They did treat you very badly.’ Will you do it? Will you forgive the sins of the servants of your father’s God?” When Joseph received their message, he wept. Then the brothers went in person to him, threw themselves on the ground before him and said, “We’ll be your slaves.” Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now — life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.” He reassured them, speaking with them heart-to-heart.
“When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph carries a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong which we did to him?” So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father commanded us before he died, saying, ‘You are to say to Joseph, “I beg you, please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, for they did you wrong.”’ Now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers went and fell down before him [in confession]; then they said, “Behold, we are your servants (slaves).” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? [Vengeance is His, not mine.]As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present outcome, that many people would be kept alive [as they are this day]. So now, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and support you and your little ones.” So he comforted them [giving them encouragement and hope] and spoke [with kindness] to their hearts.” -AMPLIFIED
A guilty conscience is hard to live with and we find that Joseph’s brothers had not truly come to the place where they had accepted the forgiveness that was so freely offered to them by Joseph. Dad had died; the mourning time had passed, the funeral is finished and now the brothers are worried that Joseph will have a change of mind because Dad is no longer there to run interference for them. “Thus conscience records criminality, and, by giving birth to continual fears and doubtfulness, destroys all peace of mind, security, and confidence. “ -Adam Clarke’s Commentary
How very sad for Joseph and his brothers. They did not trust him enough to take him at his word; so they sent word to him that they were coming, came before him prostrating themselves before him and begged for forgiveness. In fact, they stooped so low as to classify themselves as Joseph’s slaves. Have you ever done something that made you feel lower than dirt? That is about how these brothers felt. The thing that they could not understand is that Joseph wholly and completely forgave them even though they had wronged him so severely. That made no sense to them; for their hearts were not right with God; as Joseph’s was.
The fact that Joseph’s brothers had not accepted his forgiveness and they still lived in fear that he would try to seek revenge moved Joseph to tears. After 17 years of being reunited as a family, holidays, birthdays and reunions, there was still the dread of retribution lurking in the back of their minds and hanging over their heads. It really boiled down to the fact that they did not take Joseph at his word; they did not believe their brother had truly forgiven them.
How often have we done the same thing with God? Think about that for a moment. We do something that we know is sin. We repent; asking God to forgive us, but in the back of our minds we wonder if He truly has. From time to time that sin will pop up in our minds. We will feel terrible about it all over again and feel the need to repent once again. How foolish we are. If we sincerely have asked God to forgive us, than He has. “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him and his righteousness with their children’s children — with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. Psalms 103:11-18 (NIV)
Do not be fooled by the Enemy of our souls; instead take God at His Word. If you have sincerely asked forgiveness for a sin that you have committed, than He has forgiven you. Take Him at His Word!
My Prayer: Father, I will take you at your Word. I will trust You when you say that You have forgiven me. I know in my heart what you say is true, but too often I hear the lies of the Enemy whispering in my ear. Help me to stand up to his lies and rebuke him in the Name of Jesus. He is a liar and the Father of all lies. I will trust in you. You have promised that if I confess my sins that you are faithful and just to forgive them. That is TRUTH. I choose to believe you. God, your grace is greater than all of my sin and I am so thankful that is true.