Summary: When you have the "right" to do wrong, will you still do right?
It’s one thing to succumb to force and be made to be righteous.
Children are (or should be) made to obey and behave.
They should understand the serious repercussions of not!
Because of their knowledge of what will happen if they don’t, they do!
The law catches a criminal, convicts, sentences, and inflicts the punishment upon him for his crime. (Hopefully, he remembers what awaits him if he does it again, so he doesn’t.)
It’s a totally different matter, though, when you’re free to do wrong, but you don’t.
Something on the inside has to change.
Many slaves stayed with their masters when offered their freedom.
They had the opportunity to be set free or declare their allegiance.
They would place the lobe of their ear against the doorjamb, take an awl and pierce it through. (This was their sign.)
It was a bit painful and it left a mark for all to see.
In the heart of a Christian, something has to change.
You are given the freedom to do as you please. (It’s your decision.)
Your pastor is not going to be a sheriff. (You’re not living for me!)
Your true self is showing!
I. JACOB HAD DIED
A. Isn’t it amazing how one little circumstance can change everything?
B. Though he was Prime Minister of Egypt, Joseph still retained a massive respect for his God-fearing papa.
1. In the first part of the chapter we see Jacob’s death effected Joseph.
a. He wept upon him and kissed him.
b. Brought in the professional embalmers. (They evidently knew how to embalm....)
c. For 40 days the family, and the Egyptians mourned. What a leader!)
d. Took a very great company of people on a journey back to Canaan to honor Jacob’s wishes to be buried there.
e. Mourned seven more days!
2. He served his father out of love and not fear.
a. Fear may draw you, but love will sustain you.
b. I’ve not seen too many convicts, if given a chance to leave before their sentence is finished, say, "No, I’ll just stay and serve my sentence."
B. Now the barrier between Joseph and those that had abused him was gone....
1. The brothers knew it too!
2. They come begging. ("Forgive us, forgive us!")
II. JOSEPH REMAINED TRUE
A. Don’t tell me he didn’t understand the situation just as well as they.
1. His first response to their words....he wept.
2. His assurance followed. "Don’t be afraid. I’m going to take care of you and your families!"
B. He asked the question, "Am I in the place of God?" (In Egypt the rulers were the gods of the people.)
C. "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:18-21).
1. Don’t avenge! (Don’t tell me it’s just the weak that live for God!)
2. Feed and give drink to your enemy.
3. Don’t let evil win! (One of the greatest dangers of fighting evil is becoming evil. Then they’ve won!)
4. The answer is, just be good! (Good will always win in the end!)