Genesis 45:1-8 Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?”But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.
This last Sunday, Pastor Willie Nolte continued in our “Big God story” sermon series based upon the book of Genesis. He stated that by our fallen nature, we want “revenge” when done “wrong” by others. You hear the common slogan: “Don’t get mad; get even.” Then, we go on for a time obsessing over “bad” things that happen to us, because we were innocent, yet were hurt and suffered by the injustice. But, there is one great overarching theological truth: The often unseen providence and sovereignty of God is accomplishing something far better than we realize. It was American Baseball Player and Philosopher Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra that said: “It isn’t over, until it’s over.” But, actually, it isn’t over until God says that it is over; it isn’t over until then. What we are going through now is not necessarily the end. The final chapter has not been written. The longer that we live, the more we see and understand that everything that happens, and does not happen, along the path of our life journey is being orchestrated by God. There is a bigger plan and picture that we do not see. God knows what He is doing and God is accomplishing something bigger than we realize.
Willie gave us three things learned from the Joseph Saga in Genesis. (1) We have a purpose to preserve life ... to preserve life; not destroy life, to build up; not tear down, to value; not to devalue people, situations or things. Joseph said, “it was not you who sent me here, but God.” God is working things out for good, according to His purpose. The Christian perspective is to preserve the goodness, health and wholeness of life. As the people of God, this is the basic “Big Picture” of things that God wants us to do. Jeremiah 29:7 says, Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you.” Jesus said in Matthew 5:13,14: “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world”. What is salt and light, but preserving and life-giving?
Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
(2) To forgive and restore is healing, life-giving and God-honoring. It is not about hating and it is not about violence. When your motto is “don’t get mad; get even”, when are you even enough? That is the problem with getting even! When is “enough” enough? Then, the “getting even” cycle continues, wasting years of your life. When Joseph chose forgiveness over revenge, all found healing, restoration and wholeness.
Let's continue pastor Willie's message on God's bigger plan in the next post.
In Christ, Brian