Their father is dead and his half-brothers are fearful of Joseph. Apparently they had used Dad as their buffer and didn’t have their own personal relationship with him.
Now they’re afraid he might pay them back for selling him as a slave when he was a teenager. So, in their fear, they try to continue to use their dead father as a go-between. They send a message to Joseph saying that, before he died, their father said to tell Joseph to forgive them.
I personally don’t think Jacob knew the extent of what they had done to Joseph. As outspoken as he was, especially near the end of his life, I’m pretty sure the subject would have come up.
When Joseph got his half-brothers’ message, he broke down and wept. His heart was broken because his brothers still didn’t ‘get it.’ They still didn’t realize that he had forgiven them and wanted a different type of relationship with them now.
Then they came and threw themselves down at his feet and said they were his slaves.
To me this is such a picture of Jesus and a lot of His followers–including me earlier in my journey.
And it is definitely a picture of religion vs. relationship.
I’m not comparing Joseph with Jesus. Joseph wasn’t perfect and he isn’t our Savior.
But Joseph understood forgiveness and grace and he offered both to his worst offenders and they didn’t know what to do with it! They didn’t now how to live in it. All they could fathom was that Joseph should be angry with them and might be appeased if they offered themselves as his slaves.
Unfortunately this still happens every day.
Somebody reaches the point where they realize they need a Savior. So they convert to Christianity or they join a church or a sect or a denomination. And then they spend their lives trying to appease or please God by continually begging for forgiveness for their past and offering themselves as His slave. God, just tell me what to do and what not to do. Give me a list of what makes you happy and I’ll do that. And give me a list of what makes you angry and I won’t do that.
And I think God is saying . . . why don’t you grab a cup of coffee and come sit with me on the porch and let’s catch up. Tell me what’s going on, what you need my help with, who you need my help loving. And then let me tell you what I have planned for you–it’s all good. I’ll share with you any course corrections that will make your journey easier. Then let me just hold you and love on you a little while–let me give you an inkling of how much I love you–let me remind you that I am for you and I am with you–all the time! Then go out from our time together and just be you! The YOU I created you to be. A one-of-a-kind original. Don’t take any checklists with you. Instead, take the love I share with you on the porch and share it with everyone whose path you cross today–starting at home.
One night this past week–actually it was in the wee hours of the morning–the following truth hit my brain and I grabbed my phone and typed it up so I wouldn’t forget it! I think it fits with today’s blog.
“There is not enough human acceptance, attention, affection, or approval on earth to make up for your lack of an acute awareness of just how much God loves YOU!”
In case no one’s told you lately, He’s CRAZY about you! And we have all of those things (acceptance, attention, affection, approval) from Him–if we’ve accepted His offer to adopt us as His child–without having to jump through any hoops to get them!
– We have to create and maintain our own relationships–with people and with God.
– Guilt over our past will haunt us the rest of our days unless and until we seek and accept forgiveness and learn to live in grace.
– Forgiveness offered by the person we wronged isn’t enough to set us free. We have to accept their forgiveness and also forgive ourselves.
– Learning to live in the grace offered by the One we’ve wronged the most is one of the hardest things to do. But it’s not impossible.
– What relationships do I need to create and/or maintain instead of depending on someone else?
– Whose forgiveness do I need to seek?
– Whose forgiveness do I need to accept?
– What do I need to forgive myself for?
– How well do I live in grace?
Genesis 50:15-18 / Amplified Bible (AMP)
15 When Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Perhaps now Joseph will hate us and will pay us back for all the evil we did to him.
16 And they sent a messenger to Joseph, saying, Your father commanded before he died, saying,
17 So shall you say to Joseph: Forgive (take up and away all resentment and all claim to requital concerning), I pray you now, the trespass of your brothers and their sin, for they did evil to you. Now, we pray you, forgive the trespass of the servants of your father’s God. And Joseph wept when they spoke thus to him.
18 Then his brothers went and fell down before him, saying, See, we are your servants (your slaves)!