Victimization – Part 5 – Joseph and True Forgiveness
Joseph and True Forgiveness
Ephesians 2:14-16, “For He is our peace, who has made both one (echad), and has broken down the wall of separation between them, 15in His flesh He has caused to cease the enmity due to the (manmade) laws in regulations, that He might in Himself create the two into one new man, making peace, 16and He reconciled both in one body to Yahovah and destroyed the enmity through the crucifixion.”
1 Corinthians 10:6-13, “But these things became examples for us, so that we may not be lusting after evil, even as those indeed lusted. 7Neither be idolaters, even as some of them, as it has been written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” (Ex. 32:6) 8Nor should we commit fornication, as some of them fornicated, and twenty three thousand fell in one day. 9Neither let us tempt the Messiah, as some of them did, and were destroyed by serpents. 10Neither should you murmur, as also some of them murmured, and perished by the hand of the destroyer. 11And all these things happened to those as examples, and it was written for our warning, on whom the ends of the ages have come. 12So that he that thinks he can stand, let him be careful that he not fall. 13No temptation has taken you except what is human; but Yahovah is faithful, who will not allow you to be tested above what you are able. But with the trial, He will also make the way out, so that you may be able to bear it.”
You have probably read the story of Joseph, Jacob’s son, a few times in your life. I recommend you go back and read it again. Start in Genesis 37, “1And Jacob lived in the land of his father’s travels, in the land of Canaan. 2These are the generations of Jacob: Joseph, a son of seventeen years, was feeding the flock with his brothers, with Bilhah’s sons and with Zilpah’s sons, his father’s wives. And he was a youth. And Joseph brought an evil report of them to their father. 3And Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons, because he was a son of old age to him. And he made a coat of many colors reaching to the feet. 4And his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, and they hated him. And they were not able to speak to him for peace.” Joseph’s brothes hated Joseph because he was a snitch, a dreamer, and their father’s favorite. They were envious, jealous. They were haters! You know the story, Genesis 37:17-18, “And the man said, They have left here, for I heard them say, Let us go towards Dothan. And Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan. 18And they saw him from a distance. And before he came near to them, they plotted against him, to kill him.” Joseph was victimized! Reuben was able to keep the bros from killing Joseph, but they still threw him into a pit. Judah also kept them from killing Joseph, but he thought of the plan to sell him to the Ismaelites. Joseph was sold as a slave and ended up working for Potiphar, a eunuch of Pharaoh. Joseph was victimized, again!
Yahovah was prospering the slave Joseph. Potiphar’s wife wanted to have sex with Joseph, but when he wouldn’t do it, she plotted and had Joseph arrested for assault and sent to prison (Genesis 39), where he spent the next few years. Joseph was falsely accused and sentenced to prison; he was victimized, again! But Joseph did prosper, even in prison. Genesis 40:23, “And the chief of the cupbearers did not mention Joseph, but forgot him.” Joseph was victimized, again! Joseph spent two more years in prison after he interpreted the chief cupbearer and chief baker’s dreams. But then Pharaoh had dreams and Joseph was released in one day to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. Genesis 41:14, “And Pharaoh sent and called Joseph; and they rushed him from the dungeon. And he shaved and changed his clothing and came in to Pharaoh.” After Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and spoke his plan for saving Egypt, Pharaoh promoted Joseph to second in command over all Egypt, Gen. 41:39-44. Verse 46 shows Joseph was 30 years old when he stood before Pharaoh. That means Joseph had just endured 13 years of victimization! After Joseph was set free from prison, he was again prospering in Egypt, with a wife and two sons. The seven years of plenty came and went, then the seven years of famine came, and all the world came to Joseph for food, including his estranged brothers. He recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.
Joseph wisely tested their integrity through a series of character challenges. And please notice we haven’t yet touched on the victimization of Jacob, Benjamin, or Simeon in this post. The brothers finally acknowledged their sins against Joseph and repented before Joseph, before Joseph revealed himself to them, see Genesis 44-45. Gen 45:5-11, “And now do not be grieved, and let no anger be in your eyes because you sold me here, for Yahovah sent me before you to save life. 6For the famine has been in the midst of the land for two years. And there are still five years in which no plowing and harvest will be. 7And Yahovah sent me before you to put a remnant in the land for you, and to keep alive for you a great deliverance. 8And now you did not send me here, but Yahovah. And He has placed me for a father to Pharaoh, and for a master in all his house, and a ruler in all the land of Egypt. 9Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, So says your son Joseph, Yahovah has placed me as a master to all Egypt. Come down to me, do not delay. 10And you shall live in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, you and your sons and sons of your sons, and your flocks, and your herds, and all you have. 11And I will nourish you there, for there are still five years of famine; lest you be made poor, you and your house and all which abides with you.”
Joseph is now 39 years of age; over 20 years has passed since he was first sorely victimized by his brothers! Did Joseph truly forgive his brothers for their many sins against him? Yes, he did. How do we know? Look at verse 10. Joseph not only forgave his brothers, he was reconciled to his brothers. He desired to live again with them and their entire families! Do you realize this is the first instance in Scripture of the forgiveness of men by another man? And what is the main theme of this forgiveness? RECONCILIATION!! The law of first mention is heavy in this story. Joseph is truly a type of Messiah Yeshua. Yeshua was victimized much more savagely than Joseph, yet Yeshua also forgives all those who repent of their sins and turn to Him for salvation and cleansing by His precious blood! Joseph wrought a great salvation for the tribes of Israel, so Yeshua could later be born of the tribe of Judah! Judah’s faithfulness and integrity was tested right here in the story of Joseph. That may be why chapter 39 is stuck right in the middle of this story as well. Joseph brought about a temporal physical salvation, while Yeshua brings us eternal soul salvation from all our sins!!
So, let me ask you this. If Joseph had told his brothers he forgave them from the depths of his heart, but then threw them all in prison for life, or had them all executed as spies, would he truly have forgiven them?
On the way down to Egypt, Yahovah spoke to Jacob in a dream, Genesis 46:2-4, “. . .and He spoke, Jacob! Jacob! And he answered, I am here. 3And He said, I am Yahovah, The Divine One of your fathers. Do not fear to go down into Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. 4I will go down with you into Egypt, and I will also surely return you. And Joseph shall put his hand on your eyes.” Once they arrived and settled in Egypt, Gen 47:7-10, “And Joseph brought in his father Jacob and placed him before Pharaoh. And Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8And Pharaoh said to Jacob, How many are the days of the years of your life? 9And Jacob said to Pharaoh, The days of the years of my camps are a hundred and thirty years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life and they have not reached the days of the years of the life of my fathers, in the days of their camps. 10And Jacob blessed Pharaoh, and went out from before Pharaoh.” Jacob was victimized almost as much as Joseph, but both these men knew Yahovah’s guiding hand was upon their lives. Much evil to both, but much grace also. They knew they walked inside of Yahovah’s sovereign plan for their lives. Peace and joy in your soul often rest in knowing you are in the sovereign will and overall redemption plan of Yahovah. Relax, Yahovah has you in his hands, even when you are being victimized by Satan and evil men.