Summary: Keys to reconciling with God and people
Joseph Brings Reconciliation to His Family – Gen. 43-50
Preparation for the Teacher
1. Aim: To lead the people to understand how to bring reconciliation in among their family, friends and neighbors.
2. Explanation of the Aim: Joseph teaches us how to get over any feelings of resentment by exhibiting a reconciling attitude toward his abusive brothers. The Lord is eager to help us bring reconciliation between opposing parties by the power of His love, grace and truth. Once we come to appreciate how much Christ has forgiven us then we are free to forgive others regardless of the severity of an offense. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit we are able to allow Christ’s forgiveness to penetrate to every layer of our mind, will and emotions. Being willing to forgive others frees us from the self-destructive tendency of being critical, angry and fearful of others.
3. The Bible Story: When Joseph’s brothers return to Egypt to face Joseph they feared that their younger brother might hold a grudge against them. They said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back fro all the wrongs we did to him?” (Gen. 50:15) People with a guilty conscience show their own inability to seek reconciliation by the leading and help of God. Whenever we think that someone has something against us Jesus said, “Before you present your offering at the altar, first go and be reconciled with your brother.” (Matt. 5:23,24)
Reconciliation is a priority for Godly people. Joseph not only forgives his brothers before they ask him, but he says, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your people. And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.” (Gen. 50:19-21) Follow the fine example of Joseph in demonstrating a Christ like attitude in all kinds of reconciliation ministries.
4. Prepare to Teach: The INTRODUCTION gives the people an opportunity to consider some of the problems of failing to be reconciled with someone. Ask the people what are some of the dangers of failing to seek reconciliation with a school-mate, a brother or a sister? Discuss what is involved in seeking reconciliation with another person?
The BIBLE STORY explains how Joseph demonstrates a Christ like attitude of reconciliation on the human as well as spiritual dimensions of life. Joseph knew that God could even use the wrath of men for His greater praise, purpose and deliverance of millions of lives.
THE MEANING FOR OUR LIVES allows the people to make applications from the lesson to how they will seek reconciliation with other people. Ask the people if they know of someone who they have had a quarrel or fight with? Find out if the people can give a good definition of the word reconciliation (To make friends with someone who you have been estranged or separated from; to harmonize people who have opposing viewpoints) Ask the people what steps they need to take in order to be reconciled with those they hate or with people who have wronged them?
CLASS TIME (Begin With Prayer)
Give the people an opportunity to consider some of the problems of failing to be reconciled with someone (I.E. hostility, anger, resentment, bitterness, jealousy, envy, fear, estrangement, bickering, back-biting, divisions, factions, slander etc).
Ask the people what are some of the dangers of failing to seek reconciliation with a school-mate, a brother or a sister? Discuss what is involved in seeking reconciliation with another person? How did Joseph and Jesus demonstrate Godly reconciliation?
The Bible Story
Godly people know how to practice the ministry of reconciliation in the gracious way as Christ reconciled us to Himself. Even though people may not deserve forgiveness they are offered free mercy because of the love of God that grows in our hearts. True reconciliation does not demand restitution be paid before harmony is restored.
Joseph demonstrates great compassion and confirms his reconciliation and affection for his fearful brothers at a time when they needed him most. Fearful of what Joseph might do to them they made up a letter and sent it on ahead to Joseph that said, “Your father left these instructions before he died: (Notice that guilty men will use all kinds of deception to escape from having to offer genuine repentance) “This is what you are to say to Joseph:
I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly. Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father. When their message came to him, Joseph wept.” (Gen. 50:16,17) It is most important to realize that any reconciliation must begin by asking God for forgiveness before seeking man’s forgiveness. The brothers were more afraid of men than God. Once a person learns to fear the Lord and obeys His commandments they will not need to fear men.