Confession, Clemency, Comfort

Genesis 50:15-21
"When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” 16 So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, 17 ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.” ’ Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 
18 Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 
19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. 21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them."

After Jacob died, Joseph’s brothers were vulnerable to the dreamer they had persecuted. And they humble themselves before Joseph, seeking forgiveness. They know all the evil they did to him. Part of real repentance is really feeling the evil-ness of what you did.

Joseph comforts them with a deep truth. When we do wrong, God can bring good out of it. He saves Egypt by getting Joseph there through His wicked brothers. He saves Paul by getting him to Rome, through the accusations and conspiracies of the Jews. He saves you by getting Jesus to the cross through the envy of the Jewish leaders.

So should we continue in sin, that good and grace may abound? No way! We should take comfort that God in His mercy often gives clemency from consequences. Children need training with consequences, but if we only ever obey to avoid bad consequences, we really aren’t learning love.

Let us take comfort, and confess selfishness that can lurk behind surface-level politeness and obedience.


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