Duration: 365 days
THE COMPLETE FORGIVENESS OF GOD
Jacob is dying. Joseph goes to his bedside, bringing his sons—Manasseh and Ephraim—with him. Jacob musters the strength to remind them of God’s great promises for their family and adopts Manasseh and Ephraim as his own sons. He blesses them, crossing his arms and placing his hands on their heads, blessing the youngest, Ephraim, with the blessing of the firstborn.
Then he calls for the rest of his sons. The reunited family gathers around his bedside, and he speaks a prophetic blessing over each one—with especially lavish blessings for Judah and Joseph. Their faithfulness has been noticed. Jacob directs his sons to bury him with his parents and grandparents in the promised land, and then breathes his last. Jacob’s family and all of Egypt’s dignitaries lay his body to rest with great honor—the one who wrestles with God has died.
With their father gone, Joseph’s brothers worry that Joseph will finally punish them for betraying him. They ask for his forgiveness, which he graciously gives. God’s chosen family is strong and growing in Egypt.
The King’s Heart
When it comes to the perfect righteousness God gives us in Jesus, our hearts echo the cries of Joseph’s brothers, who said, in essence: “Our debts are too great. We deserve to die—surely he hasn’t completely forgiven us. There must be something we can do to pay him back. Maybe we can serve him as slaves.”
So like Joseph’s brothers, we offer our service. We’ll work for righteousness. We’ll live rightly, not from a forgiven heart filled with gratitude, but from a distant and skeptical one. Our right living gives us a false sense of self-assurance, as if we can bring anything to God. But it does something much more tragic: It keeps us from free-falling into the endless depths of God’s love and goodness. People who wrongly believe they’re earning God’s acceptance keep one foot on shore, unable to swim in the endless ocean of God’s complete love.
Joseph’s complete forgiveness of his brothers mirrors the heart of God. “My child, you don’t understand. You’re forgiven. You’re righteous. And I want friends, not slaves. Come close. I will take care of you.”
Jacob’s blessing on Joseph’s sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, meant that they’d enjoy equal status with Jacob’s other sons, their uncles. Joseph’s territory in the promised land would be divided between Ephraim and Manasseh, but Levi (Jacob’s third son) would receive no share of the land. The number of tribal allotments would remain the same—12.
Copyright © 2014 by Walk Thru the Bible Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved