Read: Genesis 49:29 – 50:26
When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” Genesis 50:15
I know – this is confusing, right? Back in Genesis 45 – 47 we read all about how Joseph forgave his brothers, saved them from starvation, gave them the best of Pharaoh’s lands and even set them up to work for Pharaoh.
But now their father, Jacob, has died and all of a sudden Joseph’s brothers are questioning their relationship with him. They’re full of fear and insecurity, wondering if the forgiveness Joseph had offered them (and they had accepted) was still real. Even after all that Joseph had done to restore them, not only saving them and their households from starvation, but setting them up for prosperity – they still questioned Joseph’s heart towards them. But maybe it wasn’t Joseph’s heart they were questioning – maybe they were questioning their own. Perhaps because of what they had done in the past they didn’t feel worthy of his forgiveness – no matter how many assurances Joseph gave them.
It’s not so hard to understand what Joseph’s brothers were thinking, is it? I know I’ve struggled with those same feelings in my relationship with Jesus. Joseph’s forgiveness of his brothers is such a great picture of the forgiveness we have in Christ. In forgiving his brothers he freed them from the burden of their sin and he didn’t look back. And I don’t think he wanted his brothers to look back either. The past was past, they were restored, and they were free. But when they began to doubt and question his forgiveness that same burden of sin was put squarely back on their shoulders in the form of fear and insecurity.
It’s easy to walk through life as a Christian doing the right things, praying, reading the Bible, loving others, yet still feel like you’re not quite good enough. Picture it like this – you’ve moved in to this big, happy mansion where God and His kids live, but you relegate yourself to the servants quarters. Always on the edge of what’s going on, but never accepting your rightful place as His beloved, forgiven child. And all the while His eye is on you, beckoning you to come near, watching and waiting for the moment that the forgiveness He offered (and you accepted) takes hold in your heart and you fly free.
Well friends, the time is now. God assures us over and over in His word that His forgiveness is complete. His love is unstoppable. And His will is for you to fly free. So repeat after me, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone. The new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17) Hallelujah!
Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the freedom I have in Christ. Thank you for making me new and removing my sins as far as the east is from the west. I accept my place as Your beloved child and I will live in grateful surrender to your amazing love! You alone are worthy of my praise and adoration! It’s in the powerful name of Jesus that I pray, amen.