Summary: How do I know I have really forgiven someone?
Genesis 45:1-15; 50:15-21
76-year-old Bill Baker of London recently wed Edna Harvey. She happened to be his granddaughter’s husband’s mother. That’s where the confusion began, according to Baker’s granddaughter, Lynn. She said, "My mother-in-law is now my step-grandmother. My grandfather is now my step-father-in-law. My mom is my sister-in-law and by brother is my nephew. But even crazier is that I’m now married to my uncle and my own children are my cousins." From this experience, Lynn should gain profound insight into the theory of relativity. (Campus Life, March, 1981, p. 31) Unfortunately most stories of messed up relationships aren’t so funny.
You may recall the story of Joseph’s brothers’ betrayal. His brothers had conspired to kill him because they were jealous of the attention he got from his father. As Jacob’s favorite child, Joseph strutted around in a richly ornamented robe, a "coat of many colors." Additionally, Joseph dreamed that his eleven brothers would one day bow don before him, which certainly did not set well with them!
Never the less, those dreams were from God. There was nothing wrong with Joseph’s interpretation, but there was a lot wrong with Joseph. God’s hand was upon him, but he needed a serious attitude adjustment. So God allowed Joseph’s brothers to deal with him severely. Instead of killing him, they decided to sell him into slavery instead. In order to cover up their crime, they dipped Joseph’s robe in some goat’s blood and took it to their father. They deceived him into believing that Joseph had been killed by some wild animal. Their plan worked.
So Joseph found himself a slave in Egypt. He was sold to an Egyptian officer named Potiphar. Potiphar’s wife took a liking to Joseph and sought to seduce him, but he resisted her temptations and fled from her when she made advances toward him. Enraged, she accused him of raping her. Potiphar believed his wife and had Joseph thrown into prison.
Joseph had much to be bitter about: He had been betrayed by those closest to him; He had been falsely accused; and God, who had allowed all these things to happen!
Now while he was in prison, Joseph became acquainted with the Pharaoh’s cupbearer and baker, who had also been sent to jail. He interpreted dreams for each of them, which came to pass. The baker was hanged, but the cupbearer was restored to his position. Joseph begged the cup bearer to put in a good word for him.
"But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me
kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison. For I was forcibly carried off from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing to deserve being put in a dungeon." - Genesis 40:14-15 (NIV)
Most of us would have made the same request. But God was not through carrying out His purposes and preparation in Joseph’s life. Delays are often a part of God’s working in our lives. The cup bearer forgot his Joseph’s plea, until two whole years later.
"The worst thing that can happen to a man is to succeed before he is ready." - Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones