Genesis 45:5-7 is such a moving story. Joseph can not contain himself any longer. He has to tell his brothers who he is. But, Joseph knows how guilty they feel. He has heard them talking. He has tested them to see if they are repentant. But Joseph longs to share with them what God has done. In these 3 verses, Joseph assures his brothers 3 times, “God is the one who sent me here!” Yes, in your weakness, you sold me as a slave, but God in his power used that to send me ahead of you to preserve our family and keep His promise!
I really think this is a beautiful example of what Paul talks about in Rom 15:1-3 “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the feelings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his (neighbor’s) good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me…” Joseph also, bore reproach. He bore his brother’s cruelty, and stood strong in faith! Now as the “strong one” he is building them up and pointing them to God!
Joseph could have been bitter. He could have sought revenge. He was the ruler of the land. He could have done anything he wanted to his brothers. But, instead, he lived like Romans 14:7-9 talked about yesterday, “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord… For to this end Christ died and lived again…” Jesus didn’t live for Himself, and secured salvation for all of us. Joseph didn’t live for Himself, and became the salvation for all of Israelite people.
Paul continues in Rom 15:5 “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another in accord with Christ that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus.” Like we talked about in Romans 8, the good God is working through the difficulties in our lives, is God’s glory! When we choose to not live for ourselves, and instead seek to point people to christ, it will produce unity with Christ, and therefore with each other, so that together, with one voice, we will glorify God.
Wow, what would it be like if we as believers were the strong ones who, in faith and dependence on God, didn’t hold on to our offenses and grievances, but instead let them go and live unto Christ? Would Romans 15:1-3 describe you? Is your faith strong enough to act like Joseph did? Can you give up your own personal agenda in order to build up the one you are in conflict with? When you are offended, or someone does something you don’t like, are you able to see the greater reward of together with one voice glorifying the God and Father of our Lord Jesus? (Rom 15:5)
This is possible, and it’s what Paul was praying for. He ended with an encouragement. Rom 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
This all starts with “not living for ourselves Rom 14:7