The story of Joseph in Egypt, at the time of the great famine, is a good example of what happens when we build up walls against people because of something they have done to hurt us. So many people build up walls and grudges against people because of the wrongs they have done against them, instead of showing mercy and forgiveness. Speaking of Joseph, instead of him simply forgiving his brothers right away, after being sold by them into Egypt, he instead saw the famine and their needs as something he could use to get back at them. And he would do this where his brothers and his father would hurt the most and that is to take their youngest brother Benjamin captive and make him his servant. This was done by setting them up with their provisions before they traveled back to their father. It would then be in Benjamin’s sack that Joseph would secretly hide a silver cup and then demand for them to be searched because it is missing. So, as you can see here, he had a plot against them because of what they had done to him. You will see how this goes down, starting in Genesis, 1chapter 43 and then in 2chapter 44. But the question is, should a man of God do such things or are we required to just forgive our brothers and sisters when they have wronged us? And to answer this, we will read what Jesus says about forgiveness and use His advice in this matter, since He is our guide in this life and the next.
Please know that the moment that Joseph insisted that his brothers bring his younger brother down to Egypt, before they could buy any food, is when His walls were still up in full force against them. Not only did his brothers and his family have to suffer longer without food because of Joseph’s demands, but now their youngest brother would be put in harms way because of this grudge. Now, as Christians we should know that this is wrong, but what is fascinating about this is that Joseph was a man of great faith in God. However, he still struggled for a time with forgiving his brothers after what they did to him. Now, I bring this up since this is something that is more common with people than you would think, even among Christians. So many people hold grudges against people that hurt them, when they themselves wish forgiveness from God. The sad thing about this is, God is only willing to forgive us if we forgive others. Jesus said, 3“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.” (Matthew 6:14,15) I hope this makes people think twice before they do something against another person, based on what they did to them. So remember that your love and forgiveness towards others is dependent on your forgiveness with God. This is very important to know and understand for our salvation.
Let us pray:
Lord God, I know that many people have hurt me over the years, but I know that with Your love in my life all of the anger inside of me is washed away. My old life is in the past and all I want to do now is love everyone, as You love us. There are no more grudges, but only forgiveness for all people, no matter the circumstances. Because You have my hand and have shown me how to love, I have no more need or desire to harm others that have hurt me, but only show them love in return and help them. It is Your presence in my life that helps me understand the worth of every person and to just love them where they are at now. Even if someone now wants to show me harm, even physically hurt me, I am able to bare this with Your peace in my life. It may be hard to not retaliate against those that hate me, but it is in Your will to continue to reach these people with Your kindness, so I will do this all the same. It is only hard to forgive one another when I am not living in Your light, but for the world. All other times that I am being led by the Spirit is when I am able to make better choices and simply forgive others, as I desire the same from You Lord, when I fall. I know that I am also to blame when it comes to hurting others, when Your love is not inside of me and I hope that these people will have a heart to forgive me as well. Surely, forgiveness and mercy is what we need in this life and I pray that I may be the first to show it when it is asked of me. It is the least I can do because of Your mercy and forgiveness for all my sins. Thank You Lord. I love You. Amen.
Let us read the Bible:
Note: Any Numbered References, found above, are listed below.
1Genesis 43 (KJV)
1 And the famine was sore in the land.
2 And it came to pass, when they had eaten up the corn which they had brought out of Egypt, their father said unto them, Go again, buy us a little food.
3 And Judah spake unto him, saying, The man did solemnly protest unto us, saying, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.
4 If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down and buy thee food:
5 But if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down: for the man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with you.
6 And Israel said, Wherefore dealt ye so ill with me, as to tell the man whether ye had yet a brother?
7 And they said, The man asked us straitly of our state, and of our kindred, saying, Is your father yet alive? have ye another brother? and we told him according to the tenor of these words: could we certainly know that he would say, Bring your brother down?
8 And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones.
9 I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever:
10 For except we had lingered, surely now we had returned this second time.
11 And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spices, and myrrh, nuts, and almonds:
12 And take double money in your hand; and the money that was brought again in the mouth of your sacks, carry it again in your hand; peradventure it was an oversight:
13 Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man:
14 And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.
15 And the men took that present, and they took double money in their hand and Benjamin; and rose up, and went down to Egypt, and stood before Joseph.
16 And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay, and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon.
17 And the man did as Joseph bade; and the man brought the men into Joseph’s house.
18 And the men were afraid, because they were brought into Joseph’s house; and they said, Because of the money that was returned in our sacks at the first time are we brought in; that he may seek occasion against us, and fall upon us, and take us for bondmen, and our asses.
19 And they came near to the steward of Joseph’s house, and they communed with him at the door of the house,
20 And said, O sir, we came indeed down at the first time to buy food:
21 And it came to pass, when we came to the inn, that we opened our sacks, and, behold, every man’s money was in the mouth of his sack, our money in full weight: and we have brought it again in our hand.
22 And other money have we brought down in our hands to buy food: we cannot tell who put our money in our sacks.
23 And he said, Peace be to you, fear not: your God, and the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks: I had your money. And he brought Simeon out unto them.
24 And the man brought the men into Joseph’s house, and gave them water, and they washed their feet; and he gave their asses provender.
25 And they made ready the present against Joseph came at noon: for they heard that they should eat bread there.
26 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was in their hand into the house, and bowed themselves to him to the earth.
27 And he asked them of their welfare, and said, Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is he yet alive?
28 And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.
29 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw his brother Benjamin, his mother’s son, and said, Is this your younger brother, of whom ye spake unto me? And he said, God be gracious unto thee, my son.
30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.
31 And he washed his face, and went out, and refrained himself, and said, Set on bread.
32 And they set on for him by himself, and for them by themselves, and for the Egyptians, which did eat with him, by themselves: because the Egyptians might not eat bread with the Hebrews; for that is an abomination unto the Egyptians.
33 And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another.
34 And he took and sent messes unto them from before him: but Benjamin’s mess was five times so much as any of their’s. And they drank, and were merry with him.
2Genesis 44 (KJV)
1 And he commanded the steward of his house, saying, Fill the men’s sacks with food, as much as they can carry, and put every man’s money in his sack’s mouth.
2 And put my cup, the silver cup, in the sack’s mouth of the youngest, and his corn money. And he did according to the word that Joseph had spoken.
3 As soon as the morning was light, the men were sent away, they and their asses.
4 And when they were gone out of the city, and not yet far off, Joseph said unto his steward, Up, follow after the men; and when thou dost overtake them, say unto them, Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good?
5 Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing.
6 And he overtook them, and he spake unto them these same words.
7 And they said unto him, Wherefore saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should do according to this thing:
8 Behold, the money, which we found in our sacks’ mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land of Canaan: how then should we steal out of thy lord’s house silver or gold?
9 With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let him die, and we also will be my lord’s bondmen.
10 And he said, Now also let it be according unto your words: he with whom it is found shall be my servant; and ye shall be blameless.
11 Then they speedily took down every man his sack to the ground, and opened every man his sack.
12 And he searched, and began at the eldest, and left at the youngest: and the cup was found in Benjamin’s sack.
13 Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city.
14 And Judah and his brethren came to Joseph’s house; for he was yet there: and they fell before him on the ground.
15 And Joseph said unto them, What deed is this that ye have done? wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?
16 And Judah said, What shall we say unto my lord? what shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves? God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants: behold, we are my lord’s servants, both we, and he also with whom the cup is found.
17 And he said, God forbid that I should do so: but the man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant; and as for you, get you up in peace unto your father.
18 Then Judah came near unto him, and said, Oh my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant: for thou art even as Pharaoh.
19 My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother?
20 And we said unto my lord, We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age, a little one; and his brother is dead, and he alone is left of his mother, and his father loveth him.
21 And thou saidst unto thy servants, Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him.
22 And we said unto my lord, The lad cannot leave his father: for if he should leave his father, his father would die.
23 And thou saidst unto thy servants, Except your youngest brother come down with you, ye shall see my face no more.
24 And it came to pass when we came up unto thy servant my father, we told him the words of my lord.
25 And our father said, Go again, and buy us a little food.
26 And we said, We cannot go down: if our youngest brother be with us, then will we go down: for we may not see the man’s face, except our youngest brother be with us.
27 And thy servant my father said unto us, Ye know that my wife bare me two sons:
28 And the one went out from me, and I said, Surely he is torn in pieces; and I saw him not since:
29 And if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
30 Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad’s life;
31 It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave.
32 For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever.
33 Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren.
34 For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.
3Matthew 6:1-15 (KJV)
1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.