Tim Keller | September 28, 1997
The story of Joseph tells us something awfully basic, and yet probably all of us will recognize that the problems in our lives are due to a lack of orientation to this thing that’s so basic. This story tells us God is a God both of truth and of love—equally, together. And what does he want for us? He wants us to forgive the way he forgave us.
To see this, we need to look at the very end of a very long story that goes from Genesis 37 all the way to Genesis 50. This is the end of the story, and in many ways it looks back and recaps the rest of the story.
We’re going to ask two questions about the narrative: 1) Why did Joseph weep? 2) What did Joseph say?
Genesis 50:15-21 tells the story of Joseph and his brothers. It’s a powerful story that shows us who God is – a God of truth and love who wants us to forgive others as He has forgiven us. Joseph’s feelings and actions help us understand the main message of the story.
1. Why did Joseph weep?
The story of Joseph shows how he went from being a slave to a leader in Egypt. This journey teaches us that God’s love is both truthful and tough, and He uses it to improve us and make us better. Joseph’s story is a great example of how forgiving others and letting go of bitterness can change us for the better and even inspire others to do the same.
2. What does Joseph say?
Joseph’s forgiveness teaches us that we need to recognize our spiritual needs and our need for God’s grace. His humility, his belief in God’s control over everything, and his emotional strength helped him forgive his brothers. This mirrors how Jesus forgave others because He understood God’s plan to save people. This shows us that forgiveness, which reflects how God treats us, is given before it is felt and can help change others to be more like Christ.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
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