Summary: The story of Joseph is an example that in spite of bad experiences from those that we love, we can forgive.
January 4, 2003
A. Favorite children stories from the Bible:
1) David and Goliath
2) Jonah and the big fish
3) Moses and the floating basket
4) Samson and Delilah
5) Noah and the Ark
6) Joseph and his brothers
a) Best part of the story
1. His father gave him a multi-colored coat
2. His prophetic dreams
b) Bad part of the story
1. His brothers were jealous of his coat
2. They became indignant when they heard Joseph’s dream
3. Plotted to kill him
4. Placed him in the pit
5. Sold him for thirty pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites
6. Falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife
7. Wrongly imprisoned for many years
8. Seven years of famine
c) Second best part of the story
1. His ability to interpret dreams
2. He became governor of Egypt
3. Seven years of prosperity
4. His brothers came bowing to him as fulfillment of Joseph’s dream
5. Joseph revealed himself to his brothers
6. He forgave his brothers
B. As human beings, we often want to skip to the best part of the story
1) We don’t want to see Cinderella scrubbing the floor in front of her bossy step-sisters. We want to see her dancing with her shining-armored-knight.
2) We want to hear the words: “And they lived happily ever after.”
3) We don’t want to see Snow White lying in that silver coffin. We want to see the prince to come and kiss her so that she will live again.
4) When confronted with difficult issues, we would rather sweep them under the rugs.
5) We sometimes behave like the shy ostrich who would rather bury her head in the sand than face her difficulties.
6) We don’t want to hear about scandal, deceit, and betrayal
7) Especially when the scandal, deceit, and betrayal are happening within our families.
C. This is exactly what was happening in Joseph’s family
1) The twelve brothers were constantly outwitting each other to gain the favor of their father Jacob.
2) The wives of Jacob were constantly bickering and arguing
3) Joseph boasting about his dream
4) Jealousy erupts
5) Premeditated crime is creeping in the minds of the brothers
6) Right circumstances presented itself—Joseph was asked by his father to visit his brothers
7) Betrayal and selling Joseph became their option
8) Deceit and deception became their tools to cover their crime.
D. Story of forgiveness and reconciliation
1) Simon Wiesenthal: A Life in Search of Justice
a) “Simon Wiesenthal lost 89 relatives in Hitler’s death camps. He has devoted his life to finding Nazi criminals and bringing them to justice.
b) He is often asked when he will give up. After all, he is hunting down men in their 70’s and 80’s for crimes committed half a century ago.
c) Wiesenthal answered by writing a book.
d) The book begins with a true experience he had while he himself was a concentration camp prisoner. One day he was yanked out of a work detail and taken up a back stairway to a dark hospital room. A nurse led him into the room, then left him alone with a figure wrapped in white, lying on a bed. The figure was a badly wounded German soldier, whose entire face was covered with bandages. His name was Karl.
e) With a trembling voice, the German made a kind of confession to Wiesenthal. He told how he had been brought up in a Nazi family, the fighting he had experienced on the Russian front, and the brutal measures his German unit had taken against Jews.
f) And then he told of a terrible atrocity. All the Jews in a town were herded into a wooden building that was then set on fire. Karl had taken an active part in the crime.
g) Several times Wiesenthal tried to leave the room, but each time the ghost-like figure would reach out and beg him to stay.
h) Finally, after 2 hours, Karl told Wiesenthal why he had been summoned. The soldier had asked a nurse if any Jews still existed. If so, he wanted one brought to his room so he could clear his conscience. He then said to Wiesenthal -"I am left here with my guilt. "I do not know who you are, I know only that you are a Jew and that is enough. "I know that what I am asking is almost too much for you. "But without your answer I cannot die in peace."
i) Karl asked for forgiveness for all the Jews he had killed. He asked for forgiveness, from a man who might soon die. Wiesenthal sat in silence for some time. He stared at the man’s bandaged face. At last, without saying a word, he stood up and left the room. He left the soldier in torment, unforgiven.