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“A Word for this Week” - Pastor Bill Mugnolo
Week of September 14-20, 2020: “The Legacy of Joseph”: Genesis 50:19-21
In this turbulent year of 2020, there have been those who have called for reparations for slavery. This is something that they believe is long overdue even though slavery, in our country, was abolished over 150 years ago. Closer to home, we have often wanted others to give us “reparations” for the way we believe they have wronged useven though it may have happened many years ago.
To all who long for reparations of one sort or another, we are called to remember the legacy of Joseph (Genesis 37-50). He had been sold into slavery by his ten jealous older brothers. But while a slave and then a prisoner in Egypt, Joseph went on to interpret an unusual dream that Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, had. As a result, Joseph was elevated to being Pharaoh’s Prime Minister who prepared the land for a famine ahead.
During the seven-year famine, Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy grain from what had been stored up over seven years of plenty. They would learn of his true identity and the whole familyincluding their father, Jacobwould relocate to Egypt. But after Jacob died, the brothers feared that Joseph would take retribution against them for their sin of so long beforehand. They even offered themselves as “living reparations” by being willing to become Joseph’s slaves. But Joseph, having seen God work the evil against him for the good of many, refused their offer, forgave them, and promised to provide for their families.
Like Joseph, there have been many times where we’ve been wronged by others. We’ve been hurt, long for “payback”, and have even wanted revenge. But we are called to forgive“seventy times seven”in view of how much Our Lord has forgiven us (Matthew 18:21-35). We are also meant to leave any vengeance into God’s hands while we look to treat those who have wronged us with kindness (Romans 12:19-21).
Then, like Joseph’s brothers, we have, all too often, been the wrongdoers. We need not fear to ask for forgiveness knowing that Our Lord has made full reparations for our sins by His cross and resurrection. Even more so than Joseph, Jesus could say, “As for you, you meant evil against meby sending me to the cross. But God meant it for goodfor your forgiveness and salvation.”
Replace today's negative thoughts with God's eternal truths, guided by the following list passed down to us from an unknown source. This is especially important in dealing with the Coronavirus and all the bad news we are hearing. Keep God's Word close at hand to combat the negative thoughts.
The world says: "Its impossible." God says: "All things are possible." (Luke 18:27)
The world says "I'm too tired." God says: "I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28-30)
The world says: "Nobody really loves me." God says: "I love you." (John 3:16, 34)
The world says: "I can't go on." God says: "My grace is sufficient." (2 Corinthians 12:9; Psalm 91:15)
The world says: "I can't figure things out." God says: "I will direct your steps." (Proverbs 3:5- 6)
The world says: "I can't do it." God says: "You can do all things." (Philippians 4:13)
The world says: "I'm not able." God says: "I am able." (2 Corinthians 9:8)
The world says: "It's not worth it." God says: "It will be worth it." (Roman 8:28)
The world says: "I can't forgive myself." God says: "I forgive you." (1 John 1:9; Romans 8:1)
The world says: "I can't manage." God says: "I will supply all your needs." (Philippians 4:19)
The world says: "I'm afraid." God says: "I have not given you a spirit of fear." (2 Timothy 1:7)
The world says: "I'm always worried and frustrated." God says: "Cast all your cares on Me." (1 Peter 5:7)
The world says: "I'm not smart enough." God says: "I give you wisdom." (1 Corinthians 1:30)
The world says: "I feel all alone." God says: "I will never leave you or forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)