Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘Joseph’

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him.

And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,

So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.

And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.

And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?

But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.  ~~  Genesis 50:15-21  (KJV)

Forgiveness and reconciliation give us great difficulty. In the first place, they are not the same thing. You can have forgiveness without reconciliation. But you cannot have reconciliation without forgiveness.

Joseph’s brothers were afraid that Joseph was being kind to them only for their father’s sake. So when Jacob/Israel died, they needed to find out what Joseph’s attitude would be toward them. So they – the offenders – went to Joseph – the offended – with their apology. And Joseph forgave them and was reconciled to them.

Forgiveness is something you do for yourself. Holding a grudge takes time and energy and effort. It makes you unhappy because you dwell on the offense, not on the present joys you may have. Worst of all, however, holding a grudge puts you at odds with God. Not a pleasant place to be.

You can forgive unilaterally. The offender need not ask for forgiveness.

Reconciliation is another matter. It involves a recognition of the offense from both the offender and the offended. It requires forgiveness. And it requires a rebuilt sense of trust between the offender and the offended.

Joseph had seen the remorse of his brothers, first when they came to Egypt to purchase grain and in the intervening years between their dad’s settling in Egypt and his death seven years later. We have a tender reconciliation scene in which Joseph indicates his forgiveness of this brothers as well as his desire that they be provided for.

Can you recall an offender that you haven’t forgiven? Is there someone with whom you need to be reconciled? What steps can you take to remedy these issues?

Father, God,

You have commanded us to forgive. Give us the strength and stamina to forgive, even when there has been no apology. Grant us the faith to put our reconciliations into Your hands.

In Jesus’ most precious name.


Who Feeds You?

And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day,  ~~  Genesis 48:15  [emphasis mine]

The “he” in the verse above is Jacob, otherwise known as Israel, and the word “Raah” as a descriptor of God means tending like a shepherd.  We find a perfect description of what that means in Psalm 23.

Our churches today seem to have a problem. Waning attendance, disagreement in policies, preaching a social gospel and focusing on programs beleaguer many of us.

Perhaps we ought to rethink why we attend church. Do we go to be fed?  Can we eat only one meal a week and thrive?

One of my precious friends was struggling with her church. She did not agree with many of the tenets taught in that denomination. But it was her husband’s church, so she went faithfully – she and all her children.  She was a woman of God, loved God with all her heart. She studied and sang and read and prayed. But church was a disappointment to her every week.

Eventually, she came to a peace about things. When I questioned how she came to that peace, she replied “I finally realized that I do not go to church to be fed. I go to worship the One Who Feeds Me.”

Why do we go to church?  Do we go to be seen by the “right” people? Is it to show off our finery? Are we looking for ways to criticize the pastor? Do we want to feel superior to someone else?


We go to worship the One Who Feeds Us. No other reason is valid. Everything else is an excuse or rationalization.

Father, God,

Help us to follow You daily. Keep us faithful in reading Your Word. Make us ever mindful that You are the one who feeds us. Let us never swallow the half-truths of the enemy. Grant that we may faithfully worship You and You alone.

In Jesus’ most precious name.



Psalm 23   (KJV)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:for thou art with me;thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:  thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.   Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Family Trees

Focus verses: Matthew 1:1-17

Sometimes scripture seems obsessed with genealogies. In Genesis, chapter ten and chapter eleven are mainly what I used to call “the begats” They trace the lineage of who fathered whom. But I never saw a purpose in it.

But here Matthew traces the lineage of Joseph back to Abraham. Legally Joseph was Jesus’ father on earth. However, Joseph was only his adopted father. There is no blood lineage between them.

I believe this family tree is here to establish that Jesus is a son of David legally. Therefore He is eligible to be the Messiah.

If we look in the book of Luke, we find a different lineage. It is confusing that it traces in the opposite direction of Matthew’s genealogy. And it doesn’t list the same people. Heli is assumed to be the father of Mary and therefore Joesph’s father-in-law. And this lineage doesn’t stop with Abraham, but goes all the way back to Adam and lists him as the son of God.

So the list in Matthew establishes Jesus’ legal claim to being the Messiah. But the list in Luke takes it back to creation – where we see Him first – as the active Word establishing the universe.

Put to the test, God dots all the i’s and crosses all the t’s. No detail is too small for His attention. And no issue is too big for His solution.

Father, God,

Thank You for being who You are. Your gift of Jesus to redeem the world amazes and awes us. Teach us to take care of the smallest detail so that the big picture is never lost due to a needless distraction. We are so grateful to be Your children.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Nothing New

Focus verses: II Kings 19:20-34

In days of old I planned it, now I have brought it to pass… (v. 25)

This verse gave me much comfort in a time of bitter trial. It let me know that God had this event in mind before it happened.

Because God gave man a free will, many things happen that God would not have ordained. But God is all-knowing and is aware of the bad choices that man will make. Because He is aware, He makes provision for our frailties and turns the evil of this world into eventual good.

That is not to say that He needs the evil in this world to bring about good. He simply redeems the situation from it’s evil by using it for good. Joseph told his brothers who sold him into slavery that what they meant for evil, God used for good.

There is nothing new under the sun. The evils man has done in the past will be continued in the future. And the redemption that God has planned will continue as well. Our only hope is in Him and His provision for our well-being. God is never surprised.

Father, God,

Help us to put into perspective the temporal things that seem designed to destroy us. Reassure us that nothing can separate us from Your loving provision.

In Jesus’ most precious name.