Great Plains Daily Devotional for 10/18/2021

Today please be in prayer for

Omaha First UMC
Missouri River District
Omaha Grace UMC
Omaha: Iglesia Comunitaria
Missouri River District
Omaha Hanscom Park UMC
Missouri River District
Omaha Hanscom Park UMC
Missouri River District

Today's Lectionary Text

Genesis 45:1-9

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

“So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt. Now hurry back to my father and say to him, ‘This is what your son Joseph says: God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me; don’t delay.

Today's Devotional

I have always been fascinated by Joseph’s story from my Sunday school days and have enjoyed rereading it in my adult years. The more I read this story, the more I capture different facets embedded in Joseph’s ordeals. One salient take away that has gripped my faith journey is the aspect of forgiveness. Reading very closely and in depth, I see a family crisis. The family systems in Jacob’s children were very dysfunctional. Joseph was hated by his brothers because he was his father’s favorite child. Perhaps you recall that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah whom Laban exchanged the night of his marriage. In his old age, he was blessed with Joseph, number eleven within the birth order of his children. Jacob gave Joseph the coat of many colors to showcase his love.

Joseph was a unique child among the 11 children. I call him a “young man with a colored destiny.” He expressed his dreams joyfully to his unloving brothers and even his father Jacob, yet none fathomed such profound dreams. The story ends with difficulties as Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelites and later ended up in Potiphar’s home. Life never treated him well. The root cause of his troubles emanated from hatred of his brothers who desired to destroy his dreams.

What surprise me most are the tread of events, the sufferings, the accusations, the delays in his verdict in prison. Above all, Joseph’s patience, services, favor and endurance during his painful life experiences. What life does not have its twists and turns, mountains to climb and valleys to crawl out of. Joseph’s issues seemed above the average. Yet he remained steadfast through the trials and tribulations.

In our scriptural context, it appears that Joseph was filled with mixed emotions up to the time he revealed himself to his brothers. He had harbored bitterness for a while. Remember how he treated his brothers when they came to Egypt seeking food? He accused them of spying on the country. He imprisoned them and might even have wanted revenge.

It is commonly believed that forgiveness is a progressive process which we must handle with care. How on earth would Joseph just welcome his brothers, reveal himself as the new Prime Minister of Egypt without processing past events around how his brothers had treated him? I can pause here a minute, so you also ponder on this question: “What do you do when someone wrongs you intensely?”

Joseph processed his life challenges and past experiences with his brothers and came to terms with the word forgiveness. He wept bitterly as he revealed himself to them. The tears were a sign of pent-up emotions. Emotions of anger came out through the tears. How could he not express his anger to his father’s children? It was very appropriate to pour out his heart in that manner. You know sometimes we bottle our anger in our relationships and carry the residue of bitterness along life’s way.

Joseph came to terms with reality in this chapter. He had to let go of this bitterness and let God reign in his destiny. I loved it when he poured out his feelings deeply during the revelation. “Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive? But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they in his presence.” (Genesis 45:3 4)

I learned that it is easy to forget the pain we cause in people’s lives. An axe cuts and forgets the pain and suffering it caused on a tree. The brothers had all forgotten their wrongdoings upon Joseph. That is why they were so dismayed at his presence. We want people to forgive us and yet forget the pain and suffering we cause in other people’s lives. The good thing here is that the brothers were forgiven by Joseph. I would think Joseph was a foreshadow of Jesus. Remember Jesus on the cross poured his heart out when he said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) The brothers were blindfolded about the future events. They knew not what they were doing in hating their own brother. God used them to fulfill his purposes through Joseph’s life.

Forgiveness always benefits the one who give it from the heart. It relieves one from the pain, bitterness, and the heavy load of reflections of life events. Joseph had to let go and held on to his God given assignments within his colored destiny. Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.”

Do you have residue of bitterness in your heart? Have you totally forgiven your brothers and sisters, your neighbor on the right and left? What is causing anger and bitterness along your faith journey? You can learn the progressive process of forgiveness from Joseph throughout his ordeals. Perhaps it is time now for you to begin the gradual process of forgiving those who have wronged you. At the same time, it is time to forgive yourself for the things you do to self and others. I am learning that forgiveness is a daily prescription we must take within our souls to function physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Therefore, take time to deal with the residue of bitterness and forgive yourself and enemies. God is your helper within the process. Amen.

-Rev. Ever Mudambanuki
Nebraska City First UMC

EMudambanuki@greatplainsumc.org

Prayer for Reflection

O God, teach us to forgive ourselves of the negative things we do in harming ourselves and others. Let your Holy Spirit fill us now as we express and explode in revealing our emotions, we have harbored a long time. Teach us to understand the tread of life events as they are connected to our colored destinies. Amen.

 

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