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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Jo­seph re­cei­ved his brot­hers with mer­cy

Siionin Lähetyslehti
Vieraskieliset / In-english
10.5.2017 8.38

Juttua muokattu:

1.1. 11:13
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The Bib­le story of the en­coun­ter bet­ween Jo­seph and his brot­hers in Egypt is a be­au­ti­ful desc­rip­ti­on of mer­cy and for­gi­ve­ness.

From the hu­man view­point, Jo­seph could have been jus­ti­fi­ab­ly ang­ry and bit­ter to­ward his brot­hers. They had sold him as a slave to Mi­di­a­ni­te tra­ders, and he had then en­ded up in pri­son in Egypt for many ye­ars.

Jo­seph was on­ly reu­ni­ted with his brot­hers much la­ter, when they came to Egypt to buy food. The Pha­ra­oh had ap­poin­ted Jo­seph go­ver­nor over all Egypt, and it had been his task to store grain for the ye­ars when crops fai­led.

Jo­seph thus had an op­por­tu­ni­ty to take re­ven­ge on his brot­hers. But he did not do that. He saw pro­found sig­ni­fi­can­ce and God’s gui­dan­ce in the events that had ta­ken place. He said to his brot­hers: ”And now do not be dist­res­sed or ang­ry with yo­ur­sel­ves be­cau­se you sold me here, for God sent me be­fo­re you to pre­ser­ve life. For the fa­mi­ne has been in the land these two ye­ars, and there are yet five ye­ars in which there will be neit­her plo­wing nor har­vest. 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 his he­art

The brot­hers al­so brought in­to Egypt their fat­her Ja­cob, and the whole fa­mi­ly set­t­led down there. When Ja­cob died, the brot­hers fe­a­red that Jo­seph might fi­nal­ly seek re­ven­ge for their evil deeds. Even while their fat­her was still ali­ve, they had pro­bab­ly been hor­ri­fied of the pros­pect of him dying. Frigh­te­ned, they sent Jo­seph a mes­sa­ge where they quo­ted their fat­her’s words: ‘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 be­lie­ving men and un­ders­tood their transg­res­si­on. They knew that Jo­seph was a po­wer­ful man who could make their life very dif­fi­cult. But they had fe­a­red in vain, for Jo­seph had al­re­a­dy for­gi­ven from his he­art.

When Jo­seph ans­we­red to his brot­hers’ pe­ti­ti­on, he said that it is not for man to re­ven­ge; the po­wer to jud­ge re­mains with God. He said to 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.) The fact that Jo­seph had for­gi­ven his brot­hers from his he­art was al­so ref­lec­ted in the way he pro­vi­ded for his brot­hers’ fa­mi­lies.

En­coun­te­ring ot­hers with the mind of Christ

We can say that Jo­seph had the mind of Christ. (Phil. 2:5–8). He did not want to res­pond to evil with evil, but rat­her wan­ted to be mer­ci­ful and en­cou­ra­ging. Through faith he un­ders­tood that he him­self had been for­gi­ven much by God, and that all of his tem­po­ral tre­a­su­res were a gift of God.

Jo­seph and his brot­hers had been in God’s school. The brot­hers had had to humb­ly apo­lo­gi­ze for their evil deeds. Their speech was no lon­ger full of ar­ro­gan­ce in the way it had been when they had for­ced Jo­seph to join the slave tra­ders many ye­ars pre­vi­ous­ly.

Apo­lo­gy and for­gi­ve­ness are sel­dom ea­sy. A per­son se­arc­hing for God’s king­dom must en­ter through the nar­row gate of re­pen­tan­ce. (Matt. 7:13). The same is true of dai­ly re­pen­tan­ce: it is not al­wa­ys ea­sy for a child of God who has fal­len in­to sin to humb­le him­self to ask for for­gi­ve­ness.

It may so­me­ti­mes al­so be dif­fi­cult to for­gi­ve. If a per­son can­not for­gi­ve his neigh­bor, his he­art may be­co­me em­bit­te­red, which has many ne­ga­ti­ve con­se­qu­en­ces. It is the­re­fo­re im­por­tant to pray that God would give us the strength both to apo­lo­gi­ze and to for­gi­ve. When God helps a per­son do that, his he­art is re­lie­ved of bit­ter­ness and the bur­den of sin. He will have a hap­py and mer­ci­ful mind.

Text: Pek­ka Ait­ta­kum­pu

Sour­ce: Sii­o­nin Lä­he­tys­leh­ti 3/2015

Trans­la­ti­on: S-L. L.

Jul­kais­tu eng­lan­nin­kie­li­ses­sä nu­me­ros­sa 10.5.2017

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