Summary: 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)
Lesson 33 – Joseph, He Brings Reconciliation to His Family – Gen. 43-50
Illustration:A childhood accident caused poet Elizabeth Barrett to lead a life of semi-invalidism before she married Robert Browning in 1846. There’s more to the story. In her youth, Elizabeth had been watched over by her tyrannical father. When she and Robert were married, their wedding was held in secret because of her father’s disapproval. After the wedding the Brownings sailed for Italy, where they lived for the rest of their lives. But even though her parents had disowned her, Elizabeth never gave up on the relationship. Almost weekly she wrote them letters. Not once did they reply. After 10 years, she received a large box in the mail. Inside, Elizabeth found all of her letters; not one had been opened! Today those letters are among the most beautiful in classical English literature. Had her parents only read a few of them, their relationship with Elizabeth might have been restored.
Daily Walk, May 30, 1992.
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.
Illustration: The Civil War was carnage. Then Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy died. And Ulysses Grant of the Union died. Their widows, Varina Davis and Julia Grant, settled near each other. They became closest of friends.
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?
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?