Summary: Joseph’s life is an example of how God can bring healing to the deep wounds of our lives.
Life Lessons from Joseph – Part 2 December 2, 2001
Show clip from Forrest Gump – Forrest says, “Sometimes there just aren’t enough rocks.”
Obviously, that was a scene from the movie “Forrest Gump.” Forrest’s lifelong friend Jenny had grown up in a home where she was abused by her father. He had left his mark on Jenny in a horrible way, profoundly affecting her life choices. And now, years later, seeing that house – the house where she grew up – that house from which she ran to an even more destructive way of life – seeing that house brought back painful memories. The hurt hadn’t gone away. The wounds had never fully healed. And Forrest appropriately comments, “Sometimes there just aren’t enough rocks.”
Let me ask you to consider something today. Have you run out of rocks?
Rocks are what we hurl at objects or individuals who remind us of our pain. They are not literal rocks, but maybe actions or words that we employ to strike back at almost anyone or anything in an attempt to offset some of our own hurt. A sarcastic comment here, a bit of excessive behavior there. Hopefully we won’t hurt so bad as long as we have rocks to throw. Jenny’s wayward adult life that is pictured in Forrest Gump is presented as a futile effort at numbing the pain of past wounds.
The trouble is that the deep hurts and the deep wounds of our lives can’t be fully healed by simply throwing rocks. Sooner or later we’ll run out – we’ll find we’ve hurt others in the process. We’ll find the pain is still there. And reduced to a puddle of unmanageable emotions, we find ourselves having to come to grips with the rest of life, wondering how we’ll cope.
Today’s message is about the healing of deep wounds.
There is a man in the Bible whose family deeply wounded him. His name is Joseph.
If you were here last Sunday, you remember Joseph’s family background. His father was married to two sisters at the same time and kept two mistresses. He had 13 children through these 4 women, all of whom lived in the same household with him. 12 of those children were boys. Joseph’s only sister had been raped. His brothers were guilty of murder, theft and gross immorality. Before he was 10 years old his mother died.
Joseph was the favorite son of his father’s favorite wife. And because of that, Genesis 37 says his father made for him a beautiful robe, fit for a prince. A robe that showed everyone he was exempt from the manual labor his brothers had to engage in day after day. His brothers wore dirty farming clothes. But not Joseph. He had a favored place in the family. His brothers hated him. They were consumed with jealousy. At the age of 17, Joseph was attacked by his brothers, who furiously stripped him of his beautiful robe. They threw him into a deep hole in the ground and would have killed him, except one of his brothers talked the rest out of it. Instead of committing murder, they sold Joseph to some slave traders who took him to Egypt. The brothers lied to their father, telling him Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.
Picking up where we left off last week, through an incredible series of events, Joseph had gone from slave to prisoner to being appointed as 2nd in command in the great Egyptian empire.
During a 7-year period of famine, it was Joseph’s responsibility to manage the distribution of grain to everyone in the Empire and the surrounding areas.
Read Genesis 41:56-57
Because of the famine, in Genesis 42 his brothers are forced to come to Egypt for food. All of his brothers make the trip except for his little brother Benjamin. The only other child of his father’s favorite wife. Joseph recognizes his brothers, but they don’t recognize him.
He holds one brother hostage and makes them go back for his little brother. When they return Genesis 45 says Joseph reveals who he is. And instead of punishing them for what they did to him, he invites them to bring his father down to Egypt so they can all survive the famine and live closer together.
The entire family comes to live in Egypt. And Joseph is finally reunited with his father. Seventeen years after the reunion, Joseph’s father dies. And that is where join the portion of the story I want us to look at today.
Read text – Genesis 50:14-21
Joseph’s life is an example of how God can bring healing to the deep wounds of our lives. Somehow Joseph made it. After all he’d been through. After all the hurt, the betrayal and unfair treatment. Joseph found healing.