Saturday, April 10, 2021

2021.04.10 Hopewell @Home ▫ Genesis 50:15–21

Read Genesis 50:15–21

Questions from the Scripture text: Who saw what in Genesis 50:15? What did they say Joseph might feel/think? What did they say that he might do? To whom did they send (Genesis 50:16)? Whom did they say had done what and when? For whom did they say Jacob had given them a special message (Genesis 50:17)? What did they say Jacob had asked him to do? How did Joseph respond to these words? What do the brothers also do in Genesis 50:18? What do they say? What does Joseph tell them not to do in Genesis 50:19? What does he ask them? What had the brothers meant (Genesis 50:20)? Who else meant something? In order to bring about what? What command does he repeat in Genesis 50:21? What promise does he make? What does he continue to do after this promise?

Living by sight makes us fear those we shouldn’t. Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead (Genesis 50:15 a). They knew what they deserved and worried that Joseph might repay them (verse 15b). The lie in Genesis 50:16-17 is laughable. If Jacob had a special message for Joseph, would he have told the other brothers and not told Joseph? As we saw in chapter 48 when he was adopting Manasseh and Ephraim, when Jacob did in fact have a special message for Joseph, it was Joseph to whom he told it.

The laughable lie makes Joseph cry. Why? Is it because he is hurt that the genuineness of his love for his brothers these last 17 years has been doubted? Is it because his father’s memory is being dishonored by these lies? Or is it perhaps because he is concerned for the souls of these brothers who fear God so little and him so much? The brothers live by sight, and so they fear Joseph. If we live by sight, we too will fear those we should not.

Living by sight makes us fail to fear Him Whom we should. When the brothers fall down before Joseph’s face and declare themselves to be his servants, Joseph’s initial response is instructive: “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?” It was not Joseph’s position to repay them for their evil. There is One who repays. Vengeance belongs to Him (cf. Psalm 94:1; Hebrews 10:30). 

It was also not in Joseph’s power to repay them for their evil. Evil’s just reward is “flaming fire and vengeance… everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8–9). There is only One who has the power to execute such vengeance. Joseph was right. They ought not have been afraid of him. But they ought to have been terrified of God.

Living by faith enables confidence and thankfulness in all circumstances. The evil brothers intended (Genesis 50:20) and did (Genesis 50:15) evil to Joseph. But they weren’t the only ones intending and acting. His good God intended and did good both to him and through him. 

There is an entire book of the Bible about this. The wicked devil intends and does evil to Job, but through it all God is intending and doing good both to him and through him. And the ultimate example of this is the cross of Christ. Never has greater evil been intended or done by the wicked devil. Never has greater good been intended or done by the good God. 

Whatever the evil are intending, and whatever evil they are able to accomplish, the good God is intending and doing good through it. Whatever your circumstances are, you can be confident in them and ought to be thankful to God for what He is doing through them.

Living by faith empowers forgiveness. If we are frightened instead of confident, it is difficult to forgive, because we worry that we might be letting our guard down and putting ourselves in danger. If we are embittered instead of thankful, it is difficult to forgive, because we are holding on to the pain, which keeps the offense fresh. 

But if we are confident in the providence of God, and thankful for the providence of God, we are much enabled to release our bitterness and forgive those who are in such danger. As we love them and do them good (cf. Genesis 50:21), we can know that either we are participating in a forgiveness project of God Himself or else amplifying and vindicating His wrath which is about to fall upon them (cf. Romans 12:20–21; Matthew 5:44–45). 

In what situation are you concerned that someone is doing you evil? What will help you respond well?

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The LORD’s My Shepherd” or TPH256 “God Moves in a Mysterious Way”


No comments:

Post a Comment