Summary: Second message on forgiveness, with some things we can learn from the life of Joseph and some things to keep in mind as we seek to forgive.
“How Can I Forgive THAT?”
Example of Joseph?
March 14, 2010
I’m going to do something that preaching teachers tell you to never do: go right into the material.
We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, and I won’t even have time to review what I talked about last week, so if you missed it you’ll have to go the website and listen to it and you can download the note-taking guide.
God: We’re going to look at various things that happened to Joseph in the book of Genesis as we look at the issue of “how” to forgive.
And listen – I know that some of you have been hurt so badly you can’t talk about it in front of other people, but I’m asking you to hang on with me, because I believe God wants to bring some healing to you.
We start in Genesis 37 –
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers…and he brought their father a bad report about them. Now Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.
Okay, Joseph was “favorite son.” And that was bad enough, because it caused his brothers to hate him.
Later in this chapter, we find Joseph telling his family that he has dreams about them bowing down to him.
Now, if God gives you a dream like that, be careful how you talk about it, okay? Because it can come across like arrogance, and that’s how his family took it.
Because of this, they plotted to kill him, but then decided to sell him in slavery instead.
* Joseph was hated and mistreated by his family.
Some of you know what that’s all about, don’t you?
Some of you have been hurt by the people you love the most, and while they didn’t try to kill you or sell you into slavery, they have hurt you terribly and your heart and soul is scarred.
Joseph can relate to that.
Then Joseph gets sold to a guy named Potiphar, who has a wife with a wandering eye in Chapter 39 –
Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, (Some of you are going, “Now THAT I can relate too…No you can’t…) 7 and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, "Come to bed with me!" 8 But he refused.
You’ve heard the saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” right?
Some of you are probably going, “No kidding – I’ve been sleeping on the couch for six weeks, man.”
Well, Joseph’s about to find that out in a big way.
11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.
16 She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him this story: "That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. 18 But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house."
19 When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, "This is how your slave treated me," he burned with anger. 20 Joseph's master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king's prisoners were confined.
* Joseph was unjustly accused and punished for something he didn’t do.
Anyone here relate to that? No fun, is it?
It happens all the time.
So Joseph is put into prison. And it’s important to notice that Genesis goes on to mention that Joseph didn’t just sit around, nursing a grudge against his brothers and plotting revenge on Potiphar’s wife.
The Bible says that he went to work right there in the prison, and just like when he was working for Potiphar, he did everything well and he actually put in charge of all the other prisoners.
In chapter 40 we come across another interesting episode that happened while he was in prison.
Two of his fellow prisoners had dreams, and Joseph finds out about it, and God gives him the interpretation of their dreams. It’s great news for one, and horrible news for the other.
And at the end of the interpretation for the one who’s about to be restored to the Pharaoh’s favor, Joseph says, “Look, man – when you’re back, put in a good word with Pharaoh for me, okay? Cool. Fist bump.”