Joseph – reconciled

Robin WilliamsonPosted on Monday, August 11th, 2014 by Robin Williamson

Readings

Genesis 45:1-15

Introduction

Families are not always happy; sometimes we argue, get jealous, want what others have – perhaps even hate one another!
Today we are thinking about Joseph, who had 10 older brothers and one younger one.
Their father had lots of sheep that the brothers looked after.

Overview

Joseph was a ‘stay at home’ sort of boy and his father gave him more love, attention and presents than he gave the others, including a special [coloured] coat with long sleeves.

The brothers were jealous – and treated Joseph very badly, and sent him away to another country lying to their father that he had got killed. They were separated for years.

But in the end they met up – Joseph forgave them and they all became real friends again.

Digging a little deeper

Yes, Joseph was treated badly;

  • His father had been unwise.
  • His brothers had been jealous and uncaring.

Yet Joseph had also inflamed the situation early on; boasting about the dreams he had to his family, and also, no doubt, flaunting the special coat that had been given him by his father Jacob.

When the meeting with his brothers occurs after several years, he had been

  • sold as a slave to Egypt
  • lied about by Potiphar’s wife
  • thrown into prison
  • released upon correctly interpreting King Pharaoh’s dreams

and finally made a ruler over all Egypt to ensure the safety of the crops during the 7 years of plenty and the fair distribution during the 7 years of famine which followed.

He was fully immersed in Egyptian culture, spoke a different language, dressed differently, and was unrecognizable to his brothers.

He could have treated them badly and got his own back, but instead is reconciled with them.

In history, Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and many others have been instrumental in bringing about reconciliation.

Is there anyway WE can, or should help foster reconciliation that we come across?

Situations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, South Sudan and Gaza and Palestine and Israel, seem insurmountable and far away. Yet we can pray, and perhaps give to the various relief organisations.

Yet nearer at hand, are there situations in our own families, church family or local communities where we could make a difference?

We can’t force the other party to agree, or forgive us if necessary, but we can do all in our power to try to bring reconciliation: we cam forgive (we may not forget) we can let go with God’s help of wrongs done to us.

As Joseph looking back was able to see God’s hand in all that had happened to him, may we also have faith and understanding to know that God, by His Holy Spirit will also work through us and guide us as we allow Him to.

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