The Morgan Church Devotional

a pastor's thoughts about...uhm...stuff

Location: Morgan, VT., United States

follower of Jesus. husband & father. friend. pastor.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Joseph & Jesus

joseph is commonly recognized as a "type of Christ". a type is an Old Testament character, object or situation that pre-figures Jesus and acts as a "calling card"...that the people of God would see it and then would recognize the "real thing" when He came.

for example, abraham's willingness to sacrifice isaac is a picture of God the Father being willing to sacrifice His own Son.

joseph (or any other person who is a type) wasn't Jesus. Jesus didn't make an appearance "in his form" nor did He inhabit his person for a short time. joseph was a real man who exhibited Christ-like character and God used him to do a great thing.

nor was it that he is only a literary figure...he was real. he lived and behaved as the bible says he did. and that behavior is pretty incredible.

i wonder if in the middle of his when he was just a slave (b4 he rose to prominence in potiphor's household) or when he was sitting in prison...if he had the same attitude.

i can only imagine that at times he did, but then in other times he struggled with it. that it was a growing process and he eventually came to realize God's hand on his life. would he have realized it if these great things didn't happen to him? well, i guess we don't know for sure.

but as i think about how God deals with me and how i observe God dealing with other people i know and how i see God dealing with people in the Scripture, the realization and the subsequent correct behavior precede the blessing.

in other words, if joseph didn't "get it" and "walk in it" God wouldn't (couldn't) use him as He did.

i realize that forgiveness is tough.
i understand we don't want to be "taken advantage of".
i believe it is wrong when someone continually sins against us in the same way.

but the story isn't about joseph's brothers. the story never really mentions if they repented or doesn't excuse their behavior and it doesn't imply that they won't one day answer for their sins.

bc when it comes to your life, God isn't concerned with any one else. He is only concerned with you and your behavior. when He deals with them, He isn't concerned with you.

so, then, to ask about the 491st time isto avoid the issue of God dealing with you.

again, it's not to say i do not understand, bc i do.

i once had a boss who was a christian. this person was nice enough...but they were a terrible boss. nothing i did was good enough...and they criticized everything about me. i mean job weight (i wasn't even that heavy back then) whether i shaved or choice of sports teams...they even explained the "proper way to tie my shoes".

life was miserable...and i often chaffed and acted inappropriately toward this person. it was as if this person thought they were my God given drill sargeant to teach me both the ropes of the job i was doing at that time and of life, too. well, i didn't need that...i've been thru basic training, thank you very much.

and to top it off, this person told me (after i apologized for saying something to him) "you need to be coming to me on your knees in repentance, bc God has placed me in authority over you and you are refusing His working in your life"...they even criticized my apologies!

needless to say, it was a tough time. and, in some ways, it is still difficult...people think of this person as a leader...they have a moderately successful business...many people think well of them...

but if they only knew...!

but God knows...and He knew all along.

so, here are some lessons i learned (some years later)

1. i am only responsible for me. if someone does(n't) repent, it's on them.
2. my willlingness to forgive is based on my being aware of God's forgiveness
3. forgiveness is an act of my will
4. eventually, feelings follow the act of the will

i used to forgive with the thought...but when they stand b4 God, He's gonna give them a thing or two...

but sincerely, my prayer is that God would not hold that against them...just as i hope He holds nothing against me.


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