Genesis – First, God
When we sin, we sin against God. He wants the good, better and best for us. Evil wants the opposite. He wants to pull us away from all that is God because HE wants to be God. He wants God job! Why? Satan’s plan is to destroy all that God created…beginning with us. God wants to give us life forever.
The bottom line is this, we have two choices: Good or Evil. One leads to death. The other leads to life.
When we go our own selfish way, giving in to the desires of our sin nature, there are consequences with unbecoming, destructive behaviors. We not only hurt ourselves, we hurt others. Fear and anxiety overcome us while we consistently look over our shoulders. We work harder at covering up our sin than we do with trying to make things right. These are some of the consequences of our sin that leaves scars.
But then, the day comes when we realize it cannot be covered up. We give up this way of life, repent and ask for forgiveness. We want to “set things right”.
The Good News is that God made a way for us to do just that. He sent His Son, Jesus who paid for our sin. All of it. When we repent of our sin to the One who paid it all, the sin, “not in part but the whole” is gone, “as far as the east is from the west”. AND our sin is removed AND forgotten by the Forgiver, “to be remembered no more”. (See Psalm 103:12 and Hebrews 8:12. See also “It Is Well With My Soul” written by a songwriter in pain but took it to God)
However, we do remember, don’t we? We remember the pain it caused to ourselves and others. We remember the guilt we carried. We might have spent much of our lives trying to repay those we hurt until we realized that’s not how God’s forgiveness works! The sin is gone. We need to forgive ourselves and others like God has forgiven us…and remember it no more. Stop the replay!
God’s example of complete, “remember no more”, forgiveness is now displayed in the life of Joseph who is compared to Jesus by many theologians as one who developed the characteristics of Jesus in this area of his life.
NOTICE the brothers’ response to Joseph after the burial of their father, Jacob/Israel.
Genesis 50, The Message
Joseph threw himself on his father, wept over him, and kissed him.
2-3 Joseph then instructed the physicians in his employ to embalm his father. The physicians embalmed Israel. The embalming took forty days, the period required for embalming. There was public mourning by the Egyptians for seventy days.
4-5 When the period of mourning was completed, Joseph petitioned Pharaoh’s court: “If you have reason to think kindly of me, present Pharaoh with my request: My father made me swear, saying, ‘I am ready to die. Bury me in the grave plot that I prepared for myself in the land of Canaan.’ Please give me leave to go up and bury my father. Then I’ll come back.”
6 Pharaoh said, “Certainly. Go and bury your father as he made you promise under oath.”
7-9 So Joseph left to bury his father. And all the high-ranking officials from Pharaoh’s court went with him, all the dignitaries of Egypt, joining Joseph’s family—his brothers and his father’s family. Their children and flocks and herds were left in Goshen. Chariots and horsemen accompanied them. It was a huge funeral procession.
10 Arriving at the Atad Threshing Floor just across the Jordan River, they stopped for a period of mourning, letting their grief out in loud and lengthy lament. For seven days, Joseph engaged in these funeral rites for his father.
11 When the Canaanites who lived in that area saw the grief being poured out at the Atad Threshing Floor, they said, “Look how deeply the Egyptians are mourning.” That is how the site at the Jordan got the name Abel Mizraim (Egyptian Lament).
12-13 Jacob’s sons continued to carry out his instructions to the letter. They took him on into Canaan and buried him in the cave in the field of Machpelah facing Mamre, the field that Abraham had bought as a burial plot from Ephron the Hittite.
14-15 After burying his father, Joseph went back to Egypt. All his brothers who had come with him to bury his father returned with him. After the funeral, Joseph’s brothers talked among themselves: “What if Joseph is carrying a grudge and decides to pay us back for all the wrong we did him?”
16-17 So they sent Joseph a message, “Before his death, your father gave this command: Tell Joseph, ‘Forgive your brothers’ sin—all that wrongdoing. They did treat you very badly.’ Will you do it? Will you forgive the sins of the servants of your father’s God?”
When Joseph received their message, he wept.
18 Then the brothers went in person to him, threw themselves on the ground before him and said, “We’ll be your slaves.”
19-21 Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.” He reassured them, speaking with them heart-to-heart.
22-23 Joseph continued to live in Egypt with his father’s family. Joseph lived 110 years. He lived to see Ephraim’s sons into the third generation. The sons of Makir, Manasseh’s son, were also recognized as Joseph’s.
24 At the end, Joseph said to his brothers, “I am ready to die. God will most certainly pay you a visit and take you out of this land and back to the land he so solemnly promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel promise under oath, “When God makes his visitation, make sure you take my bones with you as you leave here.”
26 Joseph died at the age of 110 years. They embalmed him and placed him in a coffin in Egypt.
Can you imagine what is going on in Joseph’s mind when his brothers remind him of their painful past and ask for forgiveness…AGAIN? Joseph proves he wants to forget that past. He named his first born, Manasseh, which means “Forget, saying, God made me forget all my hardships and my parental home.” (Genesis 41)
Joseph probably wept because his brothers forced him, a man still in mourning for his father, to remember the pain of what they put him through. I forgave you…why go back to the scene of the crime?
Is this how God responds when we ask for forgiveness for the same sin over and over…a sin God, the Father, through Jesus Christ our Savior and Advocate to the Father, forgot?
Does Jesus wonder what we are even talking about? He forgot!
OUR GREATEST PROBLEM…
–Forgetting what we should be remembering and remembering what we should forget!
Remember God. Through the Old Testament, we are reminded “Do not forget God…” Deuteronomy 8
Psalm 33…”God is in control. There in lies our hope.”
God is sovereign. He knows all. He is in all. He never changes in His love for us. His Plan from the beginning was to make a way for us to be saved from Evil. He knew we would not be perfect!
Though out God’s Word, HIS Story, there one underlying theme: God wants us to remember Him and love Him back.
Forget the sin and the pain of that sin. If you need to, ask for God’s help like Joseph did! I know from personal experience He will give it to you as he did to me. I carried the guilt of confessed sin around for about ten years in my life, trying to repay others for how I had hurt them. What did I learn? I learned that those years tainted my spiritual growth. It also made it harder for me to forgive others completely because I had not fully accepted forgiveness from God for myself. When I did accept His forgiveness for myself, realizing that I was indeed completely forgiven by Jesus, I was set free.
I will remember the pain of sin only enough to know not to revisit that place again.
Joseph reminded his brothers, “Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.” He reassured them, speaking with them heart-to-heart.”
What an example of the heart to heart we can have with God!
I hear God speaking to us today, “Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.”
Dear Heavenly Father,
Help us Lord…to remember You in the genesis of our thinking at the start of each new day. Help us to also remember how to behave…
“Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.
Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4
In Jesus Name, Amen