Well, today marks the end of our study of the life of Joseph. I learned so much. I can’t believe how much great business wisdom I found in these scriptures about Joseph. Not to mention the general life lessons and the lessons on forgiveness and grace that were so evident in his life.
I have to say that Joseph is one of my favorite Bible characters. I know he wasn’t perfect, but I can’t find any glaring moral failures or weaknesses. He’s steady and gracious and loyal and kind.
It reminds me of the saying we’ve all heard — the bad things that happen to you will either make you bitter or they’ll make you better. And it’s all your choice.
Joseph had some horrible things happen to him as a kid. Events he could have used as fuel for a life-long pity party. Or as excuses for doing whatever he wanted to do when faced with a moral dilemma (i.e. Potiphar’s wife).
I mean, he was now a nobody in a foreign country with no family around to ever know what he did there.
But I don’t think Joseph saw himself as a nobody. Joseph somehow held on to the hope that those dreams God had given him when he was back home did not expire when he crossed the border into Egypt. Joseph somehow believed that his brothers’ gut-wrenching betrayal was not able to destroy God’s plans for him.
When bad things happen to us . . . whether we helped them occur or not . . . we get to choose how they affect us. I’m not saying they’re not painful. They are and we need to process the pain and deal with it. And I’m not saying they don’t change things. They do. And some of the changes are devastating and permanent.
But we get to choose how they change us . . . the core of who we are. Are we going to NEVER FORGET what happened, rehash it with anyone who’ll listen, and replay it over and over in our minds? For the rest of our lives? That’s our choice. That could have been Joseph’s choice.
Or we can take the necessary time, and possibly get the necessary help, to process what happened and work through our emotions and choose to forgive whoever we need to forgive — including ourselves. That way we’re free to live our life and keep working toward our dreams. That was Joseph’s choice.
And in today’s passage, Joseph comes to the end of his life. He is now a great-grandfather. So he didn’t let what happened to him as a child stop him from creating his own family. And he still has a relationship with his brothers who betrayed him. In fact, he was still making sure they and all their families were being taken care of in Egypt.
And he still believes God is going to keep the promise He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That He would come and take Abraham’s descendants back to the Promised Land.
And when that happened, Joseph wanted his bones taken with them and buried back home.
And his request was honored.
– We don’t have to let what happened to us as children stop us from creating our own family.
– We don’t have to let past hurts keep us from forgiving and having a healthy relationship with our family.
– We can always trust God to keep His promises.
– How have you allowed what happened to you as a child affect your family or your family plans?
– What past hurts do you need to forgive so you can have a healthy relationship with your family?
– What promises are you still waiting on God to fulfill? Are you waiting in doubt or in faith? Expecting the worst or anticipating the best?
Genesis 50:22-26 / Amplified Bible (AMP)
22 Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father’s household. And Joseph lived 110 years.
23 And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation; the children also of Machir son of Manasseh were brought up on Joseph’s knees.
24 And Joseph said to his brethren, I am going to die. But God will surely visit you and bring you out of this land to the land He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob [to give you].
25 And Joseph took an oath from the sons of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and you will carry up my bones from here.
26 So Joseph died, being 110 years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.