Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Joseph's weeping for others 9/14/2014
Dear friend,

May the presence of God be realized and experienced in all of the circumstances of your life always.......

As a result of the fall of humanity into sin, deeply ingrained into us is the proclivity to not take responsibility for our actions and to shift blame onto other people or onto certain circumstances for our present lives today. At the end of the book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, the scripture records which reveals unto us of the attitude of Joseph who had certainly been the victim of much much unfair treatment beginning with his family and including his father, Jacob. Our text today occurs after Jacob had died, with his now his repentant brothers come to him in fear of what repercussions there was going to be for all of their cruel treatment of him while they were yet in their homeland. Joseph was now the second in command in Egypt, subject only to Pharoah, and he would certainly would have had the right to punish them or get revenge on them for their treatment of him.

How did he respond to them? How do we respond towards circumstances that we are in due to others sinful decisions and/or towards people who have truly unfairly wronged us? We are not talking here about choices that we have made in the flesh and for which we are reaping in the flesh.

Joseph was 17 years old when he begin to have the dreams which showed him what was going to happen in the future concerning the plans of God for the preservation of His people. The Bible gives no indication that Joseph was not told the meaning of the dreams by God. From then on Joseph experienced rejection from his family but through it all the presence of the Lord was with Him and the Lord protected/strengthened/inspired him in all his difficult circumstances.

In the account of the life of Joseph, it reveals that he wept eight times.

His brothers first coming to Egypt, listening to them talk of their guilt.
KJV Genesis 42:24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.

At seeing his younger brother Benjamin
KJV Genesis 43:30 And Joseph made haste; for his bowels did yearn upon his brother: and he sought where to weep; and he entered into his chamber, and wept there.

When he revealed to them that he was their brother.
KJV Genesis 45:1 Then Joseph could not refrain himself before all them that stood by him; and he cried, Cause every man to go out from me. And there stood no man with him, while Joseph made himself known unto his brethren.
KJV Genesis 45:2 And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.
45:3 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence.

After he promises them that he will take care of them.
KJV Genesis 45:14 And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his neck.
KJV Genesis 45:15 Moreover he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them: and after that his brethren talked with him.

Meeting his father who came to Egypt
KJV Genesis 46:29 And Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto him; and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.

After his father died
KJV Genesis 50:1 And Joseph fell upon his father's face, and wept upon him, and kissed him.

Joseph Wept
KJV Genesis 50:17 So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.

It is not recorded as to whether Joseph wept at other times. For he was hated and nearly killed by his brothers, looked on with suspicion by his father, sold as a slave, imprisoned after being falsely accused of rape, forgotten by the butler whose dream he had interpreted and so on. His brothers had staged his death, brought his coat of many colors to their father dripping with blood that they said was Joseph's and would have killed them if not for Rueben stepping in to save his brother.

It is significant to see that when Joseph wept he did so for the sake of others. He may not have understood God's purposes, but he had a heart for others and for their welfare.

Would not Joseph had the right to hate his brothers, his father, his captors, Potiphar's wife, and the butler for all their mistreatment? From the flesh, we would say, yep, they treated me wrongly and they need to get their payback. It is kind of like a couple of children playing, one hits the other and the other hits back. When questioned as to why they hit back, they replied, "He hit me first." Payback, get even, get revenge is our human default mechanism, but that is the not nature of our Christ.

18 And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
19 And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
21 Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

God is always the main character in our lives, He is always working for our spiritual good. and He never makes mistakes in our lives. We are not the key player, but God is. In your life, in my life, whom do we see as the key player? Is it God or is it self? He is working His purposes in our lives through all the difficult circumstances that we may find ourselves in.

We cannot be ruined by other's decisions on our life, but we can be ruined by decisions that we ourselves make. And bitterness which results from an unforgiving heart is the pathway to ruin for ourselves. Joseph realized in the end that through waiting on God that his life was for the purpose of bringing blessing to others, in this case, his very own family, the beginning of the Jewish nation and through whom Jesus would be born. During the tough times, he chose to trust God in all his circumstances.

God's slowness is His perfect timetable, and it is through our very difficult times of waiting that we are transformed so that we are brought closer to His purposes for our lives.

In the King James Bible the word weep is used 100 times in different forms such as weep, weepeth, weepest and weeping. To weep is to express overpowering emotions of the heart which usually comes forth in tears. The scripture records Jesus weeping two times, at the death of His friend Lazarus and as He overlooked Jerusalem as He neared the city where He would be delivered up to be crucified for our sin. Here are the references.

John 11:33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,
34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!

KJV Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,
KJV Luke 19:42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
KJV Luke 19:43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
KJV Luke 19:44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

In the first reference we see humanity weeping at the loss of a loved one, but more importantly we see Jesus weeping at what has come upon humanity due to the fall of humanity into sin in the Garden of Eden. Through His weeping we see not only His humanity but also we see the heart of His Father coming through Him as He weeps in compassion over us in our fallenness. One cannot help but think that Jesus is chomping at the bit to raise Lazarus from the dead so that He will show them that death does not have the final word, but that He does.

In the passages from Luke and from Matthew, Jesus again is weeping, but this time it is a weeping of painful sorrow for those who would not be gathered unto the True and Living God.

As we conclude, let us briefly compare the life of Joseph with the life of Jesus.

Joseph suffered wrong willingly for the life of his family.
Jesus suffered wrong willingly for the life of the world.

Joseph was sent ahead to prepare a place for his family through humiliation and exaltation.
Jesus was sent to prepare a place for us the humiliation of the cross and the exaltation of the resurrection.

Joseph longed to gather his family, just as Jesus longs to gather his family.

Joseph forgave his brothers because he possessed the heart of God
God forgave us through Christ's death because that is His joy and His glory to do so.

Some have said in the past that when we struggle with unforgiveness towards self and/or others, an unforgiveness that eventually turn into bitterness against people, against God and against oneself, we need to return to the cross of Christ and there to behold two things: Firstly, the cost of our redemption in the suffering and death of Jesus. Secondly, there we will be reminded of the grace, mercy and love of God through His offering of His Son/Himself on behalf of our sin.

Those who have emphasized this discipline have done so with the encouragement of reading from the Scriptures the accounts of the Love of God crucified for ourself, speak to God of our heart's cries and weepings to be refreshed and renewed in the knowledge of His forgiveness and to hear the Word of the Lord as it is spoken back to us which always speaks of grace, mercy and forgiveness.

May the heart of Christ as revealed through the life of Joseph be seen by us today and may we be drawn away from our own mind into the mind of Christ.

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 14 Sep 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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- Posted by Pastor Orval Wirkkala

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