March 4, 2016

Today you should read: Genesis 45

What a story!  Joseph’s brothers do the unthinkable. They sell him as a slave.  Now many years later the tables have turned and Joseph has an opportunity to pay them back with evil or with good.

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 3:9

Joseph sends everyone out of the room, breaks down and cries as he tells them his true identity.  Can you imagine how they must feel?  The fear?  The embarrassment?  The shock?

Joseph shows the character and forgiveness of God.

Don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place.  It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. (v.5)

Joseph understood that often our disappointments are God’s appointments!  God is sovereign, in charge of everything, and He has a plan for our lives.  The power comes when we accept that and submit to His plans.

  • Who does God want you to forgive and release?
  • In what ways do you try to control your destiny rather than submitting your destiny to God?
  • How is God leading you in your life decisions right now?

By: Tim Parsons


March 3, 2016

Today you should read: Genesis 44

Our passage today reflects on an elaborate ruse that Joseph puts together in order to frame his younger brother Benjamin for stealing his silver cup. Joseph sends his men after his brothers to accuse them of stealing knowing that they would be caught and believe that Benjamin would be put to death and they would all become slaves. You may be asking the question; why would Joseph do this? Was he getting back at his brothers? Was he wanted to show them his power and make them believe that he had special powers of divination? Was he being cruel or was he just trying to get information out of them? It is hard to discern but as I read this I believe that Joseph was teaching his brothers a valuable lesson, as well as, testing their hearts.

The main beneficiary of this test was Judah. Remember Judah was the one who convinced his brothers to sell Joseph into slavery in the first place (Genesis 37:26-27). At that time, Judah had no regard for the consequences of his sin or the affect it would have on his father. Now we see a different Judah. He is willing to take the place of his brother Benjamin and concerned about the hurt that losing Benjamin would do to his father. No doubt the experience of his sinful choice to sin against Joseph has changed Judah to where he does not want to make the same mistake.

Judah shows a true heart of repentance in this story. Repentance is acknowledging that your sin is wrong, confessing that sin to the Lord and to others if you sin against them and replacing that sin with the righteousness of Christ and doing the right thing. Judah did not let his past define the kind of man that he was going to become. He went from betrayer (Joseph) to savior for Benjamin. Many of us have done things in our past that we are ashamed of but God send a savior in Jesus that gives us redemption and the ability to be different and write a new story for our lives. We get to be a part of His story!

Assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self,which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:21-24

By: Chad Wiles

March 2, 2016

Today you should read: Genesis 43:1-34

Since our church has been neck-deep in a series on forgiveness (Philemon), this passage is especially helpful. We don’t see full restoration of Jacob’s sons for a few chapters, but we do see Joseph’s heart start to change. Eventually, there would be forgiveness and healing, but not before a few tests, awkward conversations, and identity-masking.

Jacob had a tough time of letting this interaction even happen. Simeon was being held by Joseph, and to his knowledge, Joseph was dead. Now, risking the life of his baby boy, Benjamin, was a tangible possibility. You could see his heart ache deeply. Still, he let his boys go back to Egypt, and sent them with more money and the best gifts he had to offer. In that moment, the fear of them not returning must have been palpable.

Judah and the brothers arrived to an oddly pleasant reception. They were expecting a business deal; they got a buffet. Benjamin got the biggest plate. While it was nice, they thought it was a trap and feared enslavement. Joseph’s happy welcome put them at ease for a moment.

Then, Joseph saw Benjamin.

This part of the passage has brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion. He never thought he would see his little brother again. The reunion will get even better in a few chapters, but the moment that they were in each other’s presence was moving to Joseph. After all, they had the same mother, and she died giving birth to Benjamin. Their bond was special. Joseph was so overtaken with emotion that he left the room to weep.

Joseph could have seen this whole thing as a nice opportunity for retribution. Instead, he took the lead from God and was an incredible picture of grace.

How would the average Joe (pun intended) respond in this kind of situation? How would you have responded if these were your brothers?

By: Todd Thomas

March 1, 2016

Today you should read: Genesis 42

After Joseph’s prophetic interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph becomes the most influential man in Egypt second only to Pharaoh himself (Gen 41:40-41). God has given Joseph a clear vision of the future and a plan to thrive during the famine. Of course, God has plans for the effects of this famine to not just be environmental. God will use the famine to fulfill His purposes in the lives of Joseph and his whole family. The famine is what brings ten of Joseph’s brothers to Egypt to buy food to take back to their family in Canaan. It is here that God moves in a big way in all their lives:

About 20 years had passed since they had last seen one another. It had to have been difficult for Joseph to see his brothers again after their betrayal. I imagine that a flood of emotions went through his heart as they bowed before him to request food from him. Certainly, Joseph remembered his earlier dreams (Gen 37:5-11) and seen this as a fulfilment of that prophecy. But, Joseph doesn’t use his newly found power for vengeance. Rather, he seeks restoration with his family because he was a Godly man and he knew that was what God desired (v.18). He sets a plan in motion that will eventually reunite his family and bring glory to The Lord.

That is the main thing that sticks out to me about Joseph in this passage: His desire to bring glory to God over getting pay back on his brothers. He certainly had the power to do with his brothers whatever he wished, and he had a right to for what they had done to him. But, Joseph had a heart after God and chose forgiveness and reconciliation over vengeance.

Sometimes forgiving someone is the most difficult when you feel you have “the right” not to forgive them. However, the extent by which we are to forgive others is not measured by whether or not they deserve it. The measurement by which we are to extend forgiveness to others is the extent of forgiveness we have received through Christ. We didn’t deserve His forgiveness, we didn’t deserve our debt to be paid, and we didn’t deserve reconciliation to God, but that exactly what we receive through Jesus’ sacrifice applied to our lives.

If you’re struggling to forgive someone today who you may feel justified in not forgiving; remember how much you’ve been forgiven in Christ and seek reconciliation with that person not vengeance.

By: Matt Mofield