Summary: Examining Joseph’s life and how he gave us an example to forgive, see God’s hand in a situation, and move forward!
God meant it for good!
(This sermon is actually based on a devotional I received from several weeks ago.)
Turn to Genesis, Chapter 50
Allow me to give you some background information on this passage before we read it.
In Genesis, Chapter 37, Joseph had a dream that one day his brothers would bow down to him and so Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery.
When he was a slave, his master’s wife tried to seduce him into an affair – and so for having integrity and not giving into her she lied to her husband and said he had tried to be with her, and so Joseph was put into prison because the Master believed his wife.
While in prison Joseph was called into Pharaoh’s court to interpret a dream for him because it had been said that he had this gift.
This led Joseph to a position of great authority and he was in charge of Pharaoh’s house – and he was given free reign to develop a plan that would feed Egypt’s citizens after 7 years of abundance had passed and there would be famine (based on this dream).
Years later during the famine, while he was putting into practice what he had planned, Joseph’s brothers came to buy goods for they too were hungry and needing food to survive, they bowed down to him and although they did not know Joseph, he knew who they were and pretended to not recognize them.
Joseph eventually revealed himself to his brothers in Chapter 45, and shortly afterwards his father was to verify that it was him.
The famine continued and soon farmers sold their land to survive, which became Pharaoh’s as well, as well as livestock, and then gave the land back to them with seed, telling them that they had to give a fifth of it to Pharaoh but they could have it back to work and own. Joseph saved their lives and families, and so they were grateful.
Later on, Joseph’s father died and he left with him some instructions. I don’t think Joseph had any idea what those instructions held.
Read Genesis 50:17-21
I. You can accept the past
No sin, no action, no choice on your part is too big for God to handle – or too big to be worked for the good of those who love him and are called to serve Him.
Romans 8:28 says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
This is a perfect example in action -- ask Joseph about that ability!
Joseph was able to accept the past, mold it for God, and move forward.
How often do we spend time on the past? Reminding ourselves of past events? Even as we celebrate Homecoming today, we can think immediately of things from our past that have haunted us or brought us to where we hurt today.
Maybe we can think of being hurt in church, or at work, or with our families, or where we know we have been wronged and deserved retribution?
God’s word tells us that we can accept the past, for we have been forgiven, if we would only ask God to help us over that hump in our lives.
Once we accept the past, we have a responsibility to embrace the present!
II. You can embrace the present
There’s no need to play the “If I had only …” game.
Yesterday is over, you cannot change it – and the future belongs to God, so today … today is your day to make a difference in your life and embrace it, just as Joseph did when he said “don’t be afraid, I will provide for you and your children.”
Joseph is embracing today.
He is in the moment, not focused on what is already history or what is to come, but he is making sure that each moment is for right now.
Our job today is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind! We ought to trust the Lord for our provisions and to give us what we need for His work.
However, there is something else we ought to do. That is to take each moment and embrace it, live for it, and spend it with those who are important to us.
You see, tomorrow is never promised and each of us has a choice to make today.
We can sit and pout today, and wonder where the days went that we did not live. Think of that for a moment. If you spend years worrying about an event from years ago, ponder for a second the time you have wasted!!
1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.”