WEEK 5, DAY 2 OF CHOOSING GOD INSTEAD OF THE WORLD, A LOVE GOD GREATLY STUDY
8 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. NLT
THE GENESIS SAGA: Joseph, Overcome By Affection
In our last reading Jacob had refused to let Benjamin return with the brothers even though Simeon would be held prisoner until they did. Some time passed, the famine grew worse and the food and supplies they had brought from Egypt were now gone. The brothers had another conversation with Jacob and he relented, ultimately laying aside fear’s grip on him and trusting in the mercy of His God.
When Joseph saw Benjamin was with them he arranged for them to be brought to his house for the noon meal. When they were brought before Joseph, again they bowed before him. Joseph spoke with them, inquiring about their father and asking if the one they had brought with them was indeed their youngest brother, (this must have been to keep up his pretense of not knowing who they were). When Joseph greeted Benjamin he was overcome with affection for him and had to leave the room. Scripture says, he wept in his room before returning to the brothers and enjoying the meal that had been prepared for them.
Other Notable Observations:
- The brothers were still fearful. (18)
- They were honest concerning the money that they had found in their sacks. (19-22)
- Simeon was returned, as promised. (23)
Today’s Focus Passage:
Remember, on their previous visit with Joseph he had been harsh and demanding toward them. Yet, on their return there is clearly a change in his demeanor – a humbleness that led him to have them brought to his home for a meal and undoubtedly to the affections and brokenness that overcame him when he was able to speak to Benjamin. What follows is an example for us of the words we find in 1 Peter 3:8-9, where believers are urged specifically not to repay evil for evil or insult for insult. Joseph not only resisted repaying evil for evil but we also see evidence of the other qualities mentioned. He was no longer harsh but spoke to them in a way that welcomed harmony, as he showed compassion, sympathetic concern and affection so great that the brothers “bowed down in humility” and Joseph had to leave the room because he was overcome by his emotions.
APPLICATION: HOW THEN SHOULD WE LIVE?
Now that we’ve revisited Joseph’s story and his actions towards his brothers, reread 1 Peter 3:8-9 again. As you read, underline or make note of those things that remind you of Joseph’s actions toward his brother. I think you will find Joseph to be a wonderful example of how Peter encouraged the new testament believers to live.
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.1 Peter 3:8-9 NLT
In light of these two passages and Paul’s words to Timothy that all Scripture is useful for training in righteousness, I believe we have a clear answer as to how we are to live. Like Joseph, we should be harmonious, unified around one way of thinking – namely “the way of Jesus”. We should be sympathetic and compassionate, truly caring about our fellow believers and showing them kindness – even those who have hurt us or others we love. We are to be affectionate, showing ‘brotherly love’ to all believers; and as Joseph so clearly demonstrated, we should be humble – putting others above ourselves, making Christ and them the focus of our attention.
PRAYER: RESPONSE TO GOD’S WORD.
Father, surely it is not easy to show love and kindness or to be sympathetic to those who have hurt us – but You have given us a perfect example in Joseph. Help us to be full of compassion, tenderhearted and forgiving as You are with us. Guide us in loving and living like Jesus – stir our affections to align with Yours so that others will see and know You and Your love in us. – To Your Glory – Amen!
YOUR TURN:PERSONAL REFLECTIONS
- How can you develop responsibility, honesty, unity, faith, and gratitude?
- How do these characteristics bless the body of Christ?