Wednesday, December 31, 2014

ending with grace and forgiveness

‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
Genesis 50:17

The book of Genesis ends on a note of grace and forgiveness. Joseph buries his father Jacob in one last return to Canaan. And after that the family chooses to return together to Egypt where they all continue to prosper under Joseph's leadership and care. But there is still one last matter to settle.

Joseph's brothers fear that now that their father is dead, Joseph will retaliate against them for selling him into slavery so long ago. They send a message begging forgiveness of Joseph and in one of the book's most poignant moments, Joseph both weeps and forgives with a perspective of worship.

Joseph was able to see the purposes of God even in his extreme hardships (Genesis 50:19-20) and thus was able to forgive. His forgiveness brought comfort and peace to the sons of Israel because God was magnified in it. If Joseph had chosen to selfishly nurse his wounds, such an ending may never have happened. But faith can and must forgive. And that is a great way to end the story.

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