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How can I not forgive you?

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Genesis 45:1-15 (NRSV) 1 Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, "Send everyone away from me." So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3 Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?" But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence. 4 Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come closer to me." And they came closer. He said, "I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9 Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, 'Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. 10 You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children's children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. 11 I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.' 12 And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. 13 You must tell my father how greatly I am honored in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here." 14 Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

The Introduction: The story of Joseph is among the best known in the Bible. It spreads over more than a dozen chapters of Genesis and shows how God was fulfilling his promises to Abraham. As the child of Jacob’s old age and Rachel’s son, Joseph became the favorite and was given the famous “coat of many colours” (Gen. 37:3 KJV; “long robe with sleeves,” NRSV, REB; “richly ornamented robe” NIV) by his father. This and dreams which showed his rule over his family inspired the envy of his brothers, who sold Joseph to a caravan of Ishmaelites (Gen. 37).

I - 1 Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, "Send everyone away from me." So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers.

 

                                    1 – There are some things in life that you just have to face, alone!

 

II -2 And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it.

 

                                    1 – When that thing that you have been holding in burst out, you cannot hide it!

 

                                    2 – There are times when pain makes you see truth.

 

III - . 5 And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.

 

                                    1 – All of the wicked plots & devious plans amount to nothing.

 

                                    2 – Even in the middle of all that suffering, God’s plan for a single life never fails to see that life’s mission completed.

 

IV - 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. (More hard times to come)

 

                                    1 – If you are in a right relationship with God, you can face anuncertain future without fear!

 

V - 7 God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God; (You thought that it was you)

 

                                    1 – There will always be a “remnant” a blessed minority, a people that God calls his own!

 

                                    2 – His people have all of the entitlements of every promise!

 

VI - 11 I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.' (promise of protection)

 

VII - 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him. (silent until then)

VIII – How can I not forgive you?

5. The Illustrations: Nothing more beautiful in man than this. Age does not congeal it, nor death destroy it. A holy, perennial fire. It begets gentleness, patience, long suffering, forgiveness of injury, oblivion of wrong. 

6. The Conclusion: Joseph was rejected, kidnapped, enslaved, and imprisoned. Although his brothers had been unfaithful to him, he graciously forgave them and shared his prosperity. Joseph demonstrated how God forgives us and showers us with goodness even though we have sinned against him. The same forgiveness and blessings are ours if we ask for them.

Joseph arranged for all Jacob's family to settle in Goshen in the Nile Delta. There, separated from the Egyptians, they could multiply and develop without their culture or religion being corrupted by the Egyptians (Gen 47:1-12). Meanwhile Joseph continued as governor, and his economic policies saved Egypt from disaster (Gen 47:13-26).

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