Genesis: Day 27

Joseph Reveals His Identity

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Today's Text: Genesis 44:1-34, Genesis 45:1-15, Galatians 3:14

Text: Genesis 44:1-34, Genesis 45:1-15, Galatians 3:14

Growing up, I was vaguely aware of Joseph and his coat of many colors. I even ice skated to a song about it when I was ten, wearing the amazing colorful costume my mom covered in giant rhinestones for me. As I got older, I came to learn the real story of Joseph: how his father gave him that colorful coat, causing his brothers to envy him, how those envious brothers sold him into slavery, and how Joseph triumphed over all those events and became a powerful leader in Egypt. I love an underdog story (who doesn’t?), and Joseph’s story always seemed to epitomize that. But lately, Joseph’s story has become so much more to me.

Recently, I was deeply hurt by some people I love dearly. I wanted so badly to forgive them, but in my heart, I struggled to actually do so. The phrase “easier said than done” resonated as I found myself waffling between communicating love and then sadness, forgiveness and then anger.

When I turned to God’s Word for guidance in how to truly forgive, I didn’t expect to be drawn to the story of Joseph. Here was a man who’d suffered tremendously at the hands of those he trusted. He was betrayed by his own brothers, torn from relationship with his beloved father, and even wrongfully imprisoned (Genesis 37, 39).

So, years later, when Joseph’s brothers unknowingly came to him for help (Genesis 42:6-7), there were so many angry, broken, bitter ways he could have responded. He could’ve used the opportunity to humiliate his brothers, withhold his help from them, or take revenge for everything they’d done to him.

But that’s not how Joseph chose to respond. Instead, he was utterly vulnerable and wept aloud. He refused to blame his brothers and openly gave glory to God for His plan and provision (Genesis 45:1-8).

This is such a contradiction to what my own heart is naturally prone to do. And in my career as professional counselor, I’ve seen it time and time again: our natural inclination is to retreat and self-protect. It seems we’re afraid to show others our sadness and pain, as if it’s somehow safer to put up walls of anger and silence—even while we long to be understood and feel a close connection with those we love.

Joseph had every reason not to trust his brothers, to want to protect himself instead; yet he placed his trust in God. Joseph’s identity and security were so deeply rooted in God, he was able to forgive his brothers entirely, and invite them into his presence and under his protection (Genesis 45:9-11).

Joseph’s response blows me away, and yet, isn’t it a reflection of God’s response to us? We’d like to think we’re always the honorable underdog, like Joseph. But we’re also his vengeful brothers, we’re the villagers throwing stones (John 8:3-11), and we’re the ones who put Christ on a cross (1 Peter 2:24).

Joseph offered his brothers forgiveness where they feared condemnation, but how much more does Christ offer us in His life, death, and resurrection! Even while hanging on the cross, Jesus petitioned for our forgiveness, saying, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Because of God, Joseph was able to forgive his brothers. And because of Christ, we can forgive those who hurt us, knowing we’ve all fallen short in our sin but we’ve been forgiven entirely (Romans 3:23-24, 1 John 1:9).

I have offended a perfect God more horrendously than I can bear, and I’ve been forgiven more completely than I can fathom. Mercy upon mercy upon mercy has been heaped upon me. Out of this relationship with an overwhelmingly gracious God, I find that I, too, can be moved, changed, and compelled to truly forgive.

Kaitie Stoddard is a professional counselor who recently relocated from Chicago to Colorado with her husband. She has her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is passionate about helping couples and families find healing in their relationships. Jesus dramatically changed her life in high school, giving her a heart for those who don’t yet know the love of Christ. On any given weekend you’re likely to find Katie snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains, checking out new restaurants with friends, or catching up on her favorite Netflix and podcast series.

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  • This really hit home with me today! I been struggling lately with the hurt my parents caused me in my childhood.I told myself for sometime that I am over it, but sometimes conversations lead to anger and hurt within me that I never express. I been going back and forth about speaking with them regarding it,if its pointless, or should I just go to God to recieve my true healing from it and mend our relationship. This confirmed that regardless of how they hurt me that it was for a greater plan and purpose .My hurt introduced me to the ultimate healer, My Lord. And to that I say thank you, our sins, failures, and hurt are used by God to fulfill his plans. Thank You God!

  • I have always loved the story of Joseph and marveled at his courage and that he wasn’t a complainer , in ALL that had been done unfairly to him he didn’t complain. I would have been the most whiny person ever! I too have been deeply hurt by some I dearly love and until today the aspect of Joseph offering forgiveness was a fact and not a lesson for me. I have not been treated the way Joseph was and yet I was holding on to my pitiful little hurt like I had been thrown into a pit and sold into slavery! I needed this word today so that I can forgive fully and through that be reconciled with my loved ones with complete freedom. The Enemy would love for me to say “I forgive you,” and still harbor the hurt. Joseph indicates no sign of anything except complete acceptance and joy in being reunited with his family.

    • Mjoseph

      Amen! I too have been hurt by loved ones. It is my tendency also to retreat and isolate from them. It is a good To be reminded that I am not alone, and that the enemy is behind the division. God is behind the reconciliation.

  • Michelle

    I really enjoyed this post! I think the story of Joseph shows God’s heart for us definitely because He forgave us through Jesus, and Joseph had his identity rooted in God so strongly that he was able to overcome his own brokenness and forgive all of his brothers. I think, however, when his brothers first came unknowingly to ask for help, he reacted out of frustration which was not mentioned. I can understand this because he was so hurt by what his brothers had done to him that he acted out of this emotion. I resonate with this completely because when people hurt me, it’s very difficult for me to forgive them when I mull over it and let it consume me. However, God gave him grace and allowed him later to get past this and reveal himself to them. I can see God doing this to us as well because if we do something wrong against God, it doesn’t go unpunished. Although we are seen as blameless in God’s eyes because of Jesus, this doesn’t mean we won’t ever experience consequences. Then God blesses us and forgives us when we learn what happened and why what we did was wrong. This is so awesome to see God’s heart for us in this story!

  • Ashley Teague

    This was amazing! Forgiveness is the word I’ve chosen to focus on this year. I’ve spent so much time holding onto past hurt and not truly forgiving those who’ve wronged me. When you really stop and think about it though how sad it would be to not be forgiven. To not be forgiven for our own mistakes and transgressions. As Christians we are to strive to be more Christ like and that includes forgiving those who’ve wronged us with mercy and grace. Forgiveness is something I’ve struggled with like many others but this year I’m really going to try harder and pray more for God to help me forgive and let go. Life is too short to hold onto anger and pain. “Because of God, Joseph was able to forgive his brothers. And because of Christ, we can forgive those who hurt us, knowing we’ve all fallen short in our sin but we’ve been forgiven entirely (Romans 3:23-24, 1 John 1:9).”

  • Ah, forgiveness. It most certainly is hard. And sometimes it feels near impossible. Yet the sweetness of giving forgiveness is such a sweet reminder of that which we have received from Jesus. We, too, were undeserving. Great post, Katie! Congratulations for your new endeavor with SheReadsTruth! Look forward to reading more of your thoughts.

  • Nadine Hall

    This has hit very close to home. I’ve been harboring hard feelings toward a family that did me wrong two years ago. It is time to let go and freely forgive them.

  • Beverly V

    I struggle with forgiving myself. (Anyone else?) I can more easily dole forgiveness to others who have offended me – placing them in the right and myself in the wrong – than extend that same forgiveness to myself. I can also compose some explanations (read: excuses) for this struggle. Attributing it to the guilt-laden divorces of my parents. Or to being the eldest child who is naturally strong and responsible, successfully making sure everything is perfectly taken care of. Or to my desire to avoid perceived conflict and any sign of drama by running hard and fast in the opposite direction. I’ve done a lot of tight-fisted controlling and self-protecting to prove that my life is “perfect” even when the world around me is falling apart. It is exhausting. A senseless, guilt-filled burden to bear. But it is even more challenging to let go. It’s like that game of Ker Plunk – I fear removing that one straw which would make all the marbles come tumbling down.
    But God, in His great compassion and gracious care, does not fear removing that straw or any of the others. No, He is not appalled by the mess that I so desperately want to hide. And an even greater truth is that I cannot hide it from Him; He sees it all and loves me still. And this is just what I feel He has been doing in my life – the delicate, tender task of removing straws – of helping me to continually surrender and open my heart to His eternal forgiveness and merciful love. I had such a rigidly-tight grip of my life filled with my personal expectations of how it “should” go, and it has taken hurt and lots of disappointment leading me to despair, so all that has remained is Him, my loving Father. And He has been faithfully with me as my own prideful walls have come crumbling down and my hiding is exposed. While my own pride and stubbornness bring me to these places over and over… He graciously meets me in and through them… again and again.
    And it is when I am in the thick of these places that I will heap on the guilt and the shame. As I said before, forgiving myself is a struggle. But under all this muck, the struggle ultimately stems from the lies that I have believed and have allowed to define me. And I think God wants to replace those deeply-rooted lies with His truth. And so He keeps working on my heart, day after day. Bringing me to this place again and again. This place of facing my own heart. Of trading the incessant berating of myself for resting in Him, in the beautiful truth that I am His daughter whom He perfectly loves. Of releasing the guilt and *receiving* His merciful forgiveness.
    I know the world is not mine to carry, control, or judge. All I am responsible for is using what I have, where I am, well and in love. Forgiving myself may feel heavy and looming but, in truth, it is my own sin that continually needs to be faced and wiped away. Forgiveness comes only by returning to Him and receiving. The words of Isaiah 44 wash over me: “I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like a mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” (v.22) And I remind myself: Do not dwell in the guilt or shame. Come to Him. Because by His grace, I am forgiven. Thank you, Jesus, I am forgiven. My day, week, month, or year may not go as planned… but I am forgiven. And His grace is more than enough.

    • Cheryl

      That what one of the first things that hit me as I was reading through this devotional – can I forgive myself?

      I don’t know how, but everything you’ve written I feel I can identify with. Being the eldest child, bearing responsibilities, putting up a perfect front, running away from conflicts, trying to control, carry, judge the world around me, yet knowing that everything I’ve listed is the exact opposite of what a child of God is supposed to do. Which at the best of times then spirals into guilt and shame, and at worst lashes out at the people closest around me for not picking up the slack, not doing enough.

      I think you and SRT’s Kaitie are right, that surrendering is the key, recognising that “I have offended a perfect God more horrendously than I can bear, and I’ve been forgiven more completely than I can fathom. Mercy upon mercy upon mercy has been heaped upon me… that our transgressions are swept away like a cloud, our sins like a mist…”

      Thank you.

      • Beverly

        Thank you for your words of understanding, Cheryl. I am grateful as I felt completely raw and vulnerable in sharing this part of my heart. Would it make sense to anyone else? So, thank you for relating and sharing.
        Praying we both surrender and keep surrendering these pieces of ourselves to our great God who offers abundant mercy. Grateful He knows our hearts and loves us still. Hugs to you today, Cheryl.

  • I just love these truths shared today. So good to hear!

    http://www.kelseymarie.co

  • CJ Close

    So grateful for your lesson today. I needed this. Blessings!

  • Maria Baer

    I love reading all your takes in this scripture.. In the end is about forgiveness and truly it comes thru Christ.

  • Rochelle

    2014-2015 were huge in terms of forgiveness for me. My own bitterness and unforgiveness led me to sin (gossip, resentment) and there were rather explosive situations with my sister in law. We did reconcile, and are friends, although it’s a situation where it’s good we live in different states. The distance is healthy for us and allows us to enjoy a positive friendship.
    Because she is not a believer, and is hostile toward the gospel, it is easy for me to slide into old ways of thinking. I can find myself having certain thoughts of superiority toward her, and that’s just so gross. The only reason I have what I have is Jesus! I did nothing to deserve it! It’s amazing how depraved our hearts really are, when we focus on ourselves and not on God. This devotional comes at a great time. I’m not necessarily experiencing unforgiveness right now, but it kind of comes and goes. There are always going to be difficult people in our lives, and it’s up to us to keep our eyes on Jesus and his gift of forgiveness to us. Who are we to hold anything over anyone else?!

    • Carolyn

      Seeing the phrase “…that’s just so gross” was a surprise. The word immediately brings distinct feelings of repulsion . “Gross” is defined as rude, offensive, disgusting, crudely vulgar. When I hear the word, I recoil and think “yuck” and make a face. This was a different take this morning that has made me stop in my tracks to think. Thanks for sharing your experience, as it applies to some I have had, and I know there will be others in the future. I think the word “gross” will come to mind and remind me to quickly run to Jesus for forgiveness and for His grace to respond in a godly way.

      • Rochelle

        it’s definitely a strong word! but that really is how i feel about these judgy, superior thoughts i find myself having. i can be so quick to mentally seek out other’s mistakes, to pick apart their comments…when really i just need to be grateful God looked on me in my own filthy sin and gave me love, grace and mercy. if i’m to be like Him i MUST do the same for the people in my life. it can be so hard though.

  • I agree with what all you ladies have said but still I struggle to understand why Joseph set them up and falsely accused his brothers of being spies and robbers. Why did he lie to them before revealing his true identity at the end? In the case of Essau, he received Jacob with open arms demanding no explanation, and they reconciled immediately after years of being separated. But in Joseph’s case, he really made his brothers’ lives a nightmare. At the end we see that his heart was right but why did he set his brothers up and lie to them? Was he testing them?? Making sure they were trustful?
    The only explanation I can come up with is: yes, after a traumatic event like Joseph suffered, trust is lost and needs time to be repaired. I can forgive somebody but will be cautious whether I trust him/her or not, because I don’t want to be hurt again. In the case of Joseph, when he interrogated his brothers was possibly to see if they were still the same cold hearted people they were before. If so, maybe his youngest brother Benjamin was at risk and he maybe wanted to makes sure that he can protect at least the youngest. But it is not until Judah finally decides to exchange his freedom for the freedom of his brother Benjamin and the well being of his father that finally Joseph decides to reveal his true identity. If this is the reason why Joseph did all the testing that unfortunately included false accusations and lies, all I can learn here is that forgiveness doesn’t mean we trust the people again immediately. Forgiveness is one thing and reconciliation another. In some cases like Essau’s reconciliation without testing will come easily. In Joseph’s case He forgave them but he needed to make sure that their hearts were right so he could trust them and to be open to a reconciliation to fulfill God’s promise to preserve them and take care of them.
    Thoughts?

    • Rochelle

      That is pretty much what I got from it, Caro. It is my assumption that Joseph wanted to test them to see if their hearts had changed since he last saw them. It is possible that he would have forgiven them, but he would not have been able to trust them – with the care of his brother or perhaps even his father, who keeps asking about. Obviously this is all speculation, but it kind of makes sense to me. He wanted to see where their hearts were, to see if the reconciliation could be mutual. I’m interested to hear others’ thoughts as well!

      • Caro

        Thanks Rochelle! I love what you add “to see if the reconciliation could be mutual”. I am sure Joseph forgave them but you never know the other’s intentions.

        • Thea

          Thank you so much for sharing that interpretation! I was wondering the same thing, why would Joseph set them up? But it makes sense that he could have wanted to see how they would respond – would her leave their youngest brother or protect him?

          • Kelly M

            I too have been struggling with some of the actions of a few of the people we have been following in Genesis, but the other day it struck me how amazing it is that God used such imperfect people to teach us. Through them these stories and lessons are more accessible and approachable to someone as imperfect as I. Our beautiful Savior didn’t come to earth in a palace and the linage to him was far from perfect. For me that is the biggest relief.

    • Rebekah

      He listened to their conversation the first time they met, and when he pretended to be suspicious of their motives and they said amongst themselves that they were being punished for what they’d done to Joseph, he went out and wept.
      This says to me that:
      1. Their hearts were remorseful for that sin, and
      2. Joseph recognized it, and determined at that point to effect a reconciliation.

      He did that by trying their hearts further to see if they would sacrifice themselves for the sake of their father and brother, a complete reversal from their former actions.
      You can forgive someone who is not repentant, but without repentance their can be no reconciliation.

      • Rebekah

        Yikes.
        There, not their. O_O

        • Caro

          Amen! Thanks you so much!

          • Caro

            *thank

          • Hope

            Why aren’t you in my living rooms? I’m struggling with this forgiveness thing and I’ve been saying the same thing about reconciliation without biblical foundation. It’s helpful to watch someone walk through it. But Jospeh is better than me…murder and slavery. I’d been done with those guys. Real talk: Jesus clean my heart.

        • Kimone

          It’s actually their* Rebekah. Lol. But amazing thoughts from everyone. Just like God would put us through trials to test our faith and faithfulness, Joseph tested his brothers to see where their hearts really were. Blessings to you all.

      • Hope

        You rocked! Thank you for the insight, sis.

      • Hope

        Did I miss their repentance? Does repentance have to be to the person? If we see/ recognize feelings of repentance is that good enough?

        • Kimone

          Repentance can only be done to God. I think ours is apology. At least in my opinion. Christ said if they offend you and repent then forgive them. So I guess repentance is correct. Based on their actions it is enough, it is obvious that they turned away from their former ways which signifies repentance.

  • God, is so much more than I can take in. Everyone goes through a Joseph story in their lives I believe some bigger and some smaller BUT all for God’s purpose in each of our lives. I guess mine is a bigger one. I would like it resolved but only in God’s good timing…. as it should be. I dream what it will be like, then I ask that I will respond like Joseph. For it happened and for a reason only God knows. Some days of remembering are hard, then I place it where it should be in God’s hands and remember that it is His plan for my future and He is unfolding it for His glory.
    I love this story of Joseph about a resurrected life and restoration.
    Prayer and blessing to the staff and all who do this SRT. What a friend we have in Jesus.

  • This was beautiful! I just had a question, is there a way to minimize the author’s bios at the end, or could it be a click-link instead? While I sometimes like reading who wrote what, it disconnects me to see that before the image that captures so perfectly everything the reading is about. And sometimes it’s nice to just think of these posts as all written by She Reads Truth, without the specifics!

    • Jami

      Oh that’s too funny, I love the bios and read them first if it’s a guest writer so I can connect with them. Since they often write personal stories, the bios help me to feel like I “know” them over time and get to know their unique writing style. :)

      • Hope

        Me too! I like the bios but maybe they can come after the picture?

  • Without fail, this is one of my favorite stories to read time and time again in the Word.

    I love Kaitie’s thoughts on this, and while reading, am just nodding my head in agreement.

    The underdog story gets us all – that’s where most of us stand up and cheer. But the ugly part, when the mirror is shone on us? We are often the vengeful brothers.

    Thankful for a God who went to the greatest length possible to die for us and demonstrate what true, once-and-for-all, forgiveness looks like. Thankful for a God so big to weave themes of forgiveness, hope and restoration all throughout His Word so that dense minds and wayward hearts like mine can see example after example of the better way to go.

  • Oh my…reading all your comments and I also can add my story of hurt, anger and even revenge! The hurt and humiliation occurred in front of a large group of family and it happened when I was a very new Christian…the hurt and anger began to turn to depression….then I went to a bible study our Pastor was having and we always had a time of prayer also…I confessed my anger over words that were spoken …through many tears, I confessed I just didn’t know how to forgive this close relative! Our Pastor placed his hands on my head and commanded the spirit of anger and unforgiveness be gone. And I can only say, the heaviness and anger left me! It was a supernatural intervention of God that started me on the journey of forgiveness! I still had to work through the process but It was such a lesson…to this day, I can look back on that incident and give God the glory for such a thorough recovery! And He is the first One I turn to when I have a need to forgive (and there have been many) !! He alone gives us the will and the power to forgive!
    Agreeing with Churchmouse, it’s not hugging and singing kumbaya….it’s not a “feeling” …it’s an action ! And as we give our “feelings” over to God, the healing begins…to God be the glory!
    Shalom dear sisters <

    • Joan

      a short PS….my first step is to ask The Lord to just help me to be WILLING to forgive!!!… Best & shortest prayer…HELP !!! <

    • Churchmouse

      Yes, Kyle! Praying for those with whom we are at odds and doing something good for them, even if misunderstood or not received as we hope – these actions are proof of our state of forgiveness even if reconciliation doesn’t occur.

  • Thank you for this! It spoke to me like nothing else had about a situation that occurred a couple of years ago. It confirmed to me that I did the right thing!

  • Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

  • Churchmouse

    The difficulty of defining forgiveness…
    It’s not always hugging and singing Kumbaya. Sometimes it’s the biting of the tongue, choosing civility instead of being totally honest and telling them how they’ve offended and hurt us. Vulnerability doesn’t always result in reconciliation. Really. There is a place within forgiveness that includes having healthy God-pleasing boundaries. There are toxic folks out there. Wisdom and discernment are needed. Someone once said that forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different. Joseph accepted his past in all it’s ugliness. He chose to believe that God was working through it. And Joseph chose to move forward. We don’t need to become rooted in the past “what if’s* and we don’t need to bitterly feel sorry for ourselves or angrily plot revenge. That’s not Godly. Christ tells us to pray for our enemies. Do good to them. But boundaries can also be good for them and us. Overexposure to toxic folks can lead me to sin in anger or retaliation. Boundaries help me to honor God. I know it’s a healthy boundary when I experience Is. 26:3. Forgiveness and boundaries are not exclusive.

    • Melea

      I love what you said: “Forgiveness is letting go of the hope that the past could have been any different.” I’m struggling to forgive some people who could’ve helped me but chose not to. But God worked it all out beautifully, yet I still hold those who should’ve helped me in contempt. It worked out, I received the help I needed from other sources, so I need to let go of the hope that the past could have been different. Ah, game changer. I can do that! Thank you!!

    • Jenny

      I’d never thought about this before! Forgiveness and boundaries are not exclusive! Thanks for great insight!

    • Rochelle

      I cannot agree more. Sometimes healthy boundaries are very necessary as addition to forgiveness…

    • Kristin

      Agreed!

  • Oh, this was a reminder I so needed today.

    “And because of Christ, we can forgive those who hurt us, knowing we’ve all fallen short in our sin but we’ve been forgiven entirely.”

    All too often, when I’m hurt by someone, I immediately shut down and place all the blame. Today’s message reminded me that it is never one-sided. While I may be hurt by someone’s words or actions, I can choose to be bitter and spiteful, or I can choose to extend grace and forgiveness. I’m prone to instantly choosing the former. It is my prayer today that I can begin to be more like Joseph and choose the latter.

  • I needed this message of forgiveness so terribly bad right now.

  • Caroline

    Thank you Lord for this beautiful reminder of forgivness. May our hearts be turned to you as we love and forgive others the same way you do for us. http://Www.In-due-time.com

  • On Sunday we had a very convicting sermon about bitterness and that the opposite of bitterness is forgiveness. The pastor asked us to pray about one particular situation in our lives where we had allowed bitterness to root in our heart. My sister in law and I have had a very strained relationship and that is what I prayed about. Later that day, God brought the situation to a head. I had very difficult conversations with my mother in law and sister in law yesterday. It’s so hard to want to forgive someone when they won’t take ownership of their role in the problem. But that’s not what we are called to do. This mornings devotion was extremely well timed. Thank you! I am praying that God will use this situation for his good and that he will create a clean heart in me so that I might truly forgive.

    • Laurie

      Obedience, is all you need. You’ve done well.

    • Beth

      Ahhh bitterness. My aunt wrote a book about her journey with bitterness and how God (and lots of work) healed her of it. The Bitter Truth by Linda Graf.

      • Hope

        Hey ladies! So I pretty much read Beth’s Aunts book today. Yep! I locked myself in a bathroom and read and wept and screamed about how hard it is to be a Christian. Anyway, it’s good. Get it! Beth tell your Aunt that she’s amazing. Ladies, buy the book. Jesus & her book will transform you.

  • Hether Clement

    We all know the story, right? Joseph was deeply loved by his father. He was the favorite. Dad made him a beautiful coat of many colors, which he showed off to his brothers. After rubbing their noses in it, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt. Although he endured many hardships, he eventually rose to a position of great power, which enabled him to save not only his family, but an entire nation.
    There’s the Condensed Clement version. The scene I’m focused on today is a dramatic one. It’s the moment that I play over and over in my head – kind of the climax of the story. This is the point where I can hear feel emotions rising as the background music swells… the moment when Joseph reveals his true identity to his brothers. They’re all gathered around, in fear for their lives, and Joseph just can’t take it anymore. He breaks down and cries so loud the entire house of Pharaoh hears him – and he tells his brothers that he is Joseph – he is alive. What they meant for evil, God meant for good.
    As I read through this familiar story again this morning, the verse that jumped off the page for me is this:
    “So it was not you who sent me here, but God…” (Genesis 45:8a)
    If it were me? I’m afraid I’d hang onto that blame game for all I was worth. I’d be tempted to Lord my position over them… to return to the habit of rubbing their noses in it, at least for a little while. It’s easy to look for someone else to pin our suffering on, isn’t it? When we find ourselves in difficult – even painful – circumstances that may very well be brought about by the actions of someone else, the easiest thing in the world is to focus on what they did to us… and to cling to a spirit of unforgiveness, even desiring revenge. So easy.
    Isaiah 26:3 is one of my favorite verses in Scripture. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” That is what governs Joseph’s response. He is able to forgive his brothers for the evil they have done to him because his mind is fixed on God. He knows that his entire life was orchestrated by the Father, and that there was a purpose in every second of his suffering.
    I want that confidence. I want to give my circumstances nothing more than a glance, because my gaze is fixed on the One who loves me and knows what’s best for me. Then I can let go of this need to find blame… to hold grudges… to harbor resentment and a hard heart toward those who have hurt me. When I can see that it is GOD who has “sent me here”, I will be able to let go… and that’s when I’ll find peace.

    Have a great day, my friends… let’s try and see the world through Jesus colored glasses today, shall we?

    • Rochelle

      I love that : Jesus colored glasses. Yes! When we focus on God, everything else fades in terms of importance…

  • These were exactly the words I’ve been needing to hear. I’ve been hurt so badly by some I considered very close friends (very recently) and have been struggling with forgiving and moving on. I’ve been stuck in a rut with seemingly no way out, but when I read this today, God moved me to tears because of His great love and mercy. I love when the phrase “but God” appears in scripture…there’s always something so amazing and unfathomable that follows!
    This community has been such a blessing to me, so now I ask for your prayers…if you have a chance over the next few days, be praying for me as I venture into a journey of forgiveness and healing instead of bitterness and hurt. Forgiveness is hard work, and it honestly scares me to be open and vulnerable with those who hurt me. I’m afraid to forgive because I don’t want to be hurt again. I also know that forgiveness isn’t something to step lightly into, it’s not a flippant decision and not a “quick fix” as American culture so often desires. Please be praying for God to soften my heart and help me move toward forgiveness and healing. Thanks.

    • Meredith K

      Our church just finished a teaching series on forgiveness. It was tough!! There are 4 podcasts at http://www.revolutionky.org. Our Pastor does an amazing job walking through the process and what Jesus says about it. You may find it helpful as you work through your own situation. Best wishes :)

    • Ddwprincess

      Sending prayers Becky. I’m in a similar situation with a friend. It’s a long, difficult road to forgiveness (which doesn’t mean forgetting) but with strength and God’s grace I’m confident we both can find peace and closure. Hugs!

    • Rochelle

      I have so been where you are, Becky! Praying with you and for you! Sometimes forgiveness is ongoing, you know?

    • Ana Brooks

      I just prayed for you, Becky. <3

  • Yesterday Joseph’s tears really struck me. We’ve all had those moments that we not been able to control ourselves and the tears flow like Niagra Falls. I love the reflection of Spirit work in Joseph through these tears. When we are united well with our Spirit we feel things differently than we might have before. We understand empathy versus sympathy, we are able to see the bigger picture better. I believe that for Joseph. The Word doesn’t tell us how many times Joseph thought to his brothers or the overwhelming emotions he may have had from one day to the next as the memories would play out for him but we can imagine that there were days his heart hurt. To have his brothers standing before him must have been a crushing feeling and it makes me wonder if the emotion he felt was a large part of the extremes he went through in telling his brothers. To consider Christ in this, the implications of our sin on Him and the pain He endured for us makes my heart hurt. Just as Joseph’s brothers stood before him as a great leader I stand before my King, also in need of help. And just as Joseph could’ve brought wrath upon his family, Jesus can bring wrath upon me but He doesn’t. Jesus steps off of His throne and holds me, forgiving my sordidness. The very same hands pierced by nails that my sin hammered hold my face, weeping for my return instead of condemning my need. My Savior suffered so greatly for me, who I am to hold bitterness and contempt for others. Further challenged this morning to turn any suffering or anger over in exchange for the salty sweet tears of genuine forgiveness!

    • Beverly V

      “The very same hands pierced by nails that my sin hammered hold my face, weeping for my return instead of condemning my need.” Straight to my heart this morning, B. A beautiful visual of Christ’s great care and gracious compassion over us, over me. It’s unfathomable to believe at times. Grateful for your thoughts, as always.

  • This is me. Self-protection, building walls, retreat. I sit silentl, avoiding confrontation and avoiding the issues. It feels like righteousness, as if I am turning the other cheek. You revealed the truth of my attitude. It is self-righteousness and pretend forgiveness. Instead of releasing my hurt to a God who heals, I hide it in the dark corners of my heart until a small offense becomes consuming bitterness. I didn’t recognize this as a faith issue until today. Thank you, Katie. Now, let the healing begin.

    • ~ B ~

      “I hide it in the dark corners of my heart until a small offense becomes consuming bitterness.” YES! There are moments I am so overcome with frustration it is easy to speak out but many times, when genuinely hurt, I too, retreat to a place where the fire is stoked by my own festering. Prayerful over your heart K!

    • Brandi

      This is me! Praying Gid would lead me in His ways of grace, forgiveness and healing. I don’t even know how to take the first step! Thank you sister for having the courage to say what I couldn’t put into words.

  • I have offended a perfect God more horrendously than I can bear, and I’ve been forgiven more completely than I can fathom. Mercy upon mercy upon mercy has heaped upon me….how true of my life these words are…
    Lord God, help me, teach me, guide me to be like Joseph in this story. .to forgive…to love in spite of, and to be as merciful as you have and continue to be towards me…
    Thank you Lord God. .For everything. .Thank you..

    Be blessed sisters …hugs, Tina. .xx

    • Judy

      Amen!

    • ~ B ~

      Mercy upon mercy has heaped upon me….. this truth is so overwhelming for me as well. The countless mercies. Alongside you in prayer today, Tina!

    • Lindsey c

      Word for word I agree. I’m currently working through my past hurts and letting Jesus take down my walls of anger and break the chains of unforgiveness in my heart. Such a great story and devotional today.

    • Verna

      Amen, Tina! This is my prayer also.

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