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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Jo­seph met his brot­hers mer­ci­ful­ly

Siionin Lähetyslehti
Vieraskieliset / In-english
24.5.2016 14.00

Juttua muokattu:

1.1. 23:32
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The Bib­le story about Jo­seph and how he met his brot­hers in Egypt is a be­au­ti­ful desc­rip­ti­on of mer­ci­ful­ness and for­gi­ve­ness.

Hu­man­ly thin­king, Jo­seph would have had cau­se to be harsh and bit­ter to­ward his brot­hers. They had sold him as a slave to Mi­di­a­ni­te tra­ders, and con­se­qu­ent­ly he en­ded up spen­ding many ye­ars in an Egyp­ti­an pri­son.

Jo­seph did not see his brot­hers again un­til a long la­ter when they came to Egypt to get food. Pha­ra­oh had pla­ced Jo­seph over all the land of Egypt, and he had been gi­ven the task of sto­ring grain as a re­ser­ve against ye­ars of fa­mi­ne.

Jo­seph had an op­por­tu­ni­ty to take re­ven­ge on his brot­hers. Ho­we­ver, he did not do so. He saw a deep pur­po­se and God’s gui­dan­ce in what had hap­pe­ned. He said to his brot­hers: “And now do not be dist­res­sed or ang­ry with yo­ur­sel­ves be­cau­se you sold me here, for God has sent me be­fo­re you to pre­ser­ve life. – – And God sent me be­fo­re you to pre­ser­ve for you a rem­nant on earth, and to keep ali­ve for you many sur­vi­vors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Gen 45:5–8)

Jo­seph for­ga­ve from the he­art

The brot­hers al­so brought their fat­her, Ja­cob, to Egypt, and the whole fa­mi­ly re­mai­ned there to live. When Ja­cob died the brot­hers be­gan to fear that now Jo­seph would fi­nal­ly take re­ven­ge on them for their evil deeds. Even when their fat­her Ja­cob was still ali­ve they had pro­bab­ly dre­a­ded the day when he would die. Fe­ar­ful­ly they sent a mes­sa­ge to Jo­seph in which they re­fer­red to their fat­her’s words: “Yo­ur fat­her gave this com­mand be­fo­re he died: ‘Say to Jo­seph, “Ple­a­se for­gi­ve the transg­res­si­on of yo­ur brot­hers and their sin, be­cau­se they did evil to you.”’ And now, ple­a­se for­gi­ve the transg­res­si­on of the ser­vants of the God of yo­ur fat­her.” (Gen 50:16–17)

The brot­hers were be­lie­vers and un­ders­tood that they had done wrong. They knew Jo­seph had been gi­ven much po­wer and he could make their li­ves very dif­fi­cult. Ne­vert­he­less, they needn’t have fe­a­red, for Jo­seph had al­re­a­dy for­gi­ven them from the he­art.

In res­pon­ding to his brot­hers’ ap­pe­al Jo­seph brought out that it is not man’s duty to aven­ge; on­ly God has the aut­ho­ri­ty to jud­ge. He told his brot­hers: “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you me­ant evil against me, but God me­ant it for good, to bring it about that many pe­op­le should be kept ali­ve, as they are to­day. So do not fear; I will pro­vi­de for you and yo­ur lit­t­le ones.” (Gen 50:19–21). That Jo­seph had for­gi­ven his brot­hers from the he­art is al­so ap­pa­rent from his ac­ti­ons; he took care of his brot­hers’ fa­mi­lies.

Mee­ting with the mind of Christ

We can say that Jo­seph had “the mind of Christ” (Phil 2:5–8). He did not wish to fight evil with evil; ins­te­ad he wan­ted to be mer­ci­ful and en­cou­ra­ging. By faith he un­ders­tood that he him­self had re­cei­ved much for­gi­ve­ness from God and that even all of his tem­po­ral ric­hes were gifts from God.

Both Jo­seph and his brot­hers had been in God’s school. The brot­hers had had to humb­le them­sel­ves and ask for for­gi­ve­ness for their evil deeds. No lon­ger did their words con­tain the same proud­ness they did ye­ars ago in the field where they for­ced their brot­her to go along with the slave tra­ders.

Most of­ten it is not ea­sy to ask for for­gi­ve­ness or to for­gi­ve. A per­son se­arc­hing for the king­dom of God needs to pass through the nar­row gate to get in­si­de (Matt. 7:13). It is the same with put­ting away day-to-day sins—it is not al­wa­ys ea­sy for a child of God who has fal­len in­to sin to humb­le him­self to ask for for­gi­ve­ness.

So­me­ti­mes for­gi­ving can al­so be very dif­fi­cult. If a per­son is not ab­le to for­gi­ve his or her neigh­bor, bit­ter­ness may be­gin to over­co­me his or her he­art, with sor­row­ful con­se­qu­en­ces. The­re­fo­re, it is im­por­tant to pray to God for strength to both for­gi­ve and ask for for­gi­ve­ness. When God is ab­le to help in this mat­ter, the he­art is freed from bit­ter­ness and the bur­dens of sin. Joy and a mer­ci­ful mind will fol­low.

Text: Pek­ka Ait­ta­kum­pu

Sour­ce: Sii­o­nin Lä­he­tys­leh­ti 3/2015

Trans­la­ti­on: KK

Jul­kais­tu eng­lan­nin­kie­li­ses­sä nu­me­ros­sa 11.5.2016

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Jee­sus sa­noo: "To­ti­ses­ti, to­ti­ses­ti: sil­lä, joka us­koo, on ikui­nen elä­mä." Joh. 6:47

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