Genesis 45:5, 8 “But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
This last Sunday, Pastor Willie Nolte concluded his message about the deeper godly meaning of the actions and inactions of the Bible patriarch Joseph and God's bigger plan in all of it. The early part of Joseph’s life was marked by being wronged and forgotten by others. We all have been wronged or betrayed and forgotten by others. What we need to do is “let go” of the “it’s not fair”, “it’s not right” and “what you deserve” part of life, and choose to trust sovereign God as the center of our core being in our heart, in a world that is increasingly losing authority, hope and security. The often unseen providence and sovereignty of God is accomplishing something far bigger than we realize.
In Matthew 5:38-39 the Lord Jesus Christ said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” The civil law (Exodus 21:24) was given, so that we would have a standard of punishing that fit the crime and didn’t allow us to go overboard, which we tend to do in revenge. Church Reformer Martin Luther said that an eye for an eye laves both people blind. Our natural response when someone hurts us is to hurt them back. On a personal level, flip your thinking, like Joseph did. Trust the sovereignty of God. Quit thinking about getting even. Don’t live your life as a hateful (full of hate) person. We were not design for that.
Romans 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
The question is: “How do we get to the place where believe – and ultimately see what Joseph saw?” In our fallen human condition, we tend to put ourselves before others. Pastor Willie gave us four things to do to help us in our maturing and growing. (1) Learn humility. The 1828 Webster’s dictionary defines the word “humility” as (a) in ethics, freedom from pride and arrogance; humbleness of mind; a modest estimate of one's own worth. (b) In theology, humility consists in lowliness of mind; a deep sense of one's own unworthiness in the sight of God, self-abasement, penitence for sin, and submission to the divine will. What if, in fact, you were not the center of the universe? Clothe yourself in humility. This comes from recalibrating our thinking. Don’t wait to be “knocked off your horse” by God. Reflect on things that happen in life and always remember that Jesus Christ left the throne in Heaven to come into this world for our salvation for sin and our restoration to God. We are just sinners saved by grace. Begin practicing not putting yourself in the middle, but look for proactive ways to do what God intends us to do. James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
Colossians 3:9-13 says, “Since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”
Let’s continue Pastor Willie’s message on the bigger plan of God in the next post.
In Christ, Brian