Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:September 7th, 2009 16:14 EST
Forgive and Pray: When Failure Embraces the Forgiven

Forgive and Pray: When Failure Embraces the Forgiven

By Nicholas Jacovino

 I am looking at the life of Joseph from a practical side, not merely a type, though the pictures of Christ and God are so strong, that we cannot help but see the truths. Jacob changed, and that change apparently strengthened his son that was about to face the ultimate storm. Joseph`s life was changed forever by the bitterness and actions of his brothers. Now, Joseph`s condition had changed, the brothers` perspective had changed, their location had changed. 

We come to the part of our story where we see that things are changing again! Jacob has judged his sons, and now is prepared to die. He instructs them to bury him with Leah - Jacob was changed, and Leah, the mother of Judah was the accepted bride. Things had changed often. But now, the father died, and things seem drastically changed again. 

I. There was a Fear that was Reasonable - vs. 15 - Daddy`s Dead, and now we`re gonna get it! They were not in danger, but there is a good side of this fear!

A. They Recognized the Power of Joseph - he could do to them as he pleased

B. They Recognized the Position of Joseph - he was the authority

C. They Recognized the Potential - He could requite - means to return upon them recompense them for their deeds - They actually looked at the Power and Position of Joseph and realized what they deserved!

D. They Recognized their Performance - the evil which we did unto him

There is now no way to lie their way out of it. They had no coat with blood, no story to tell the father - they knew they were guilty. This was good. In this we must see that is it a good thing to Fear the Lord!
Ecclesiastes 12:13 "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."

We should fear the Lord! Too many take God`s grace for granted. We forget He is God. We come to church, and leave and live our own lives. But the problem is not merely in the pew - it is all. 

- Received a call that a BAPTIST pastor last Sunday preached
- The first part of Genesis is only a prologue, and sacred MYTHICAL stories
- he went on to say that God cannot be proven or disproved!
- Another pastor decides that culture is more important than truth
The problem, they do not fear God. 

But before we stop and think that is the only problem:

- People that call themselves Christians make excuses for carnal lives
- We justify sin or soft Christian lives, lack of commitment, and convince ourselves that God expects nothing of us.
- We take God`s love to be an across the board acceptance, no matter how we live. THE PROBLEM IS WE DO NOT FEAR THE LORD!!! We have forgotten WHO He really is. I love the Grace of God, and it is real.
I love the Truth of my position in Christ
I love the Fellowship with God - ALL IS REAL, BUT
Psalms 111:10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever." Until they came to the point of fear, they would not take the next step. 

II. There was a Guilt that was Curable - They were guilty

A. It caused them to Devise a Plan - vs. 16 Scheming (one thing to admit it to themselves, a total different thing to admit it to Joseph)

1. They sent Messengers -(no one else can repent for you)
2. They developed a lie - Daddy said not to hurt us! - no record of this. They set another scheme to slither out of their problem, instead of repentance. 

B. It caused them to Doubt their Provision - vs. 17 (messenger still talking)

1. They were Guilty - guilt will effect
- Your fellowship with God - Sin will keep you from enjoying the Lord.
Prayer, worship and praise - all hindered.

- Your Faith - a solid faith will not dwell with guilt. 
- Your Desire for God`s Word - guilt will rob your Spiritual appetite
- Your Witness - you will not want to witness, or your testimony is hurt
But for them to admit it through a messenger was not enough. They were expressing doubt in what Joseph had already promised.

2. They were Negligent - they disregarded the promise Joseph had made.
- He had already offered forgiveness - the problem was, they had not accepted that forgiveness, and they were miserable and scared. 

- Joseph had already provided that forgiveness, but they still lived in the guilt of what they had done. Forgiveness had always been available, but they had been living in the past!
Gen 45:4 "And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. 5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. 6 For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in which there shall neither be earning nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve you posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. 8 So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt."

(There was no pass for future rebellion, but the past was secure, no reason to dig it up again!) But they remained GUILTY! They doubted the provision!

Side note - Two types of guilt 

- True guilt, we are guilty before God and have not trusted Him for forgiveness
- False guilt- after we have confessed our sin, we hold on to our guilt -that is a sin in itself, calling God a liar that He really did not forgive! But their guilt was real.
You will remain guilty until you accept forgiveness by faith.

III. There was a Grace that was Bountiful - vs. 17b-21

A. The Pain they Caused - they had doubted the Grace - Joseph`s promise had been disregarded - he wanted his brothers to realize and accept his forgiveness - and it grieved him when they rejected his grace. Not unlike our God - 

1. He was Grieved at the lack of trust by Israel - Psalms 95:10 "Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:"

2. He was Grieved at the rejection of Israel - Luke 13:34 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!"

3. He is not pleased at the death of the Wicked - Ezekiel 18:23 "Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?"
1Tim 2:4 "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
Just as Joseph wanted his brothers to accept his promise, God wants you to take Him at His Word! 

B. The Humility they Exhibited - We be thy Servants (Joseph did not correct them) We are to be God`s servants. REAL repentance now shows up! To say this, they were saying - we were wrong, do with us as you please!

C. The Truth they had to Accept - vs. 19-21

1. God is greater than our Schemes! - you meant it for evil, you schemed all the way until now - But I am in the place of God! 

Joseph did not disregard their wrong! He did not pretend what they did was anywhere close to right - they meant it for evil! But God could handle it.
- He trusted God to carry out justice.
- He acknowledged the wrong that was done to him.
- But He recognized God`s redemptive purpose and power.

Many use this verse merely to say why bad things happen to us. Well, bad things happened to Joseph because his brothers did it! God never ordains sin. 
But God used what they meant for evil, and used it for good to keep Israel. God would have done it no matter what! We can sin and mess up our lives, but we will never mess up God!

2. God is Greater than our Sorrows - this is from Joseph`s perspective. Joseph was able to look at all the evil in his life and realize that though his brothers wanted to hurt him - GOD WAS STILL IN CONTROL! God meant it for his good!
In this one verse, Joseph looks back on years of trial and victory and declared God`s presence in every detail of his life. 
From valleys to victories, God was there!

3. God is greater than our Sources! - vs. 21
-I will NOURISH you, but not just you
-I will nourish your little ones - Now that is Grace!
4. God is greater than our Sin! - Romans 5:20 "Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:" And he comforted them - He did not give them what they deserved. He spoke kindly unto them - when they thought that grace had departed with their circumstances, Joseph spoke his word. WOW

Joseph`s forgiveness was not based on them! But for them to benefit they had to be with him - but forgiveness was available.

Concl. Why does one forgiven feel they need to scheme with God to keep His forgiveness? Because we know our condition! And we forget His compassion.
Joseph would not tolerate an attack on Him at this time, nor would they try it. But their penalty was gone! Their provision was theirs, never to be taken away. 

If you are lost - Forgiveness is available - Isaiah 45:22 "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."
Rev 22:17 "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

If you are saved, and have fallen, forgiveness is available - you do not have to scheme or make excuses - Just REPENT - Proverbs 28:13 "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."
1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

We miss the truth the Jesus has already provided forgiveness for all, but many do not know its benefits because they have never accepted His pardon. When Christ was crucified by sinful man, we meant it for evil - Crucify him, we have no king but the kingdoms of this world! 
BUT GOD MEANT IT FOR GOOD!

Are you embraced by Failure or Forgiveness?

Disclaimer: A man once told me that if it is true, it is not new. If it is new, it is not true. We all know there is nothing new under the sun. With that said, I glean ideas for my sermons from God`s Word, my own thoughts and work, and many other sources. Any similarity to my sermons and others, where credit is not given, is either coincidental, or an unintentional mistake on my part. As none of us have a corner on the wisdom and teaching of God`s Word, it is my desire that any of my outlines be an encouragement, a help, and hopefully a motivation for others to preach God`s Word clearly. Please feel free to use any portion of my sermons if they can be of help to you and your ministry. It is all for His Glory.