March 12, 2017
This week we saw Joseph look back and assess his life. In light of the massive betrayal by his brothers, Joseph gives us a pattern for responding to disappointment and betrayal in our own lives:
Joseph didn't take God's place. Gen 50:19 Joseph doesn’t look for comfort in revenge because it’s not there. Instead, by refusing to take justice into his own hands, he walked by in faith. He trusted God to make things right in his wisdom.
Joseph took God's perspective. Gen 50:20 Joseph doesn’t excuse his brothers. What they did was brutal and punishing. “You meant evil against me.” They were responsible and liable for their evil hearts and evil deed. And, because Joseph has walked with the Lord his whole life, he has learned that God’s ways are higher than man’s ways. He has learned to see things from God’s perspective. Looking at his whole life he begins to see the contours of God’s greater plan: to save multitudes, even the very people who betrayed him.
Joseph showed God's love. Gen 50:21 Joseph looks in the eyes of the men who betrayed him and sold him into slavery. And he gives them grace. It’s not just that he doesn’t take revenge. He comforted them. He spoke kindly to them. He provided for them. That’s a picture of unrestrained grace.
That's an incredibly high bar! Where do we get the strength to lay aside our grief and hurt, and walk forward in loving faith? Only from a place where we've been loved in this same way. After we betrayed the Lord (first in the Garden and every person since then), God the Son entered the world to suffer even more betrayal on our behalf. Instead of taking his rightful place of judgment, he stood in the place of condemned humanity. He was marked by his suffering on our behalf, the truly unjust suffering of the sinless Savior.
It is this unrestrained grace that bought us, redeemed us, and finally empowers us for the gospel ministry of responding to disappointment and betrayal like Joseph.