Personal choices determine the fate of opportunities that God positions for each individual. Make the right choices and develop the opportunity and benefits. Make the wrong choices and you could abandon the opportunity as it is transferred to another person. Christ taught this through the Parable of Talents. Additionally, Joseph’s interactions with his brothers during “the great famine” provide us a real life example.
Forgiveness without repentance could result in an “eating with the devil” relationship, in which one would use a proverbial long spoon in readiness to run away at any appearance of provocation. God can see through your heart to know if you have repented. However, a fellow human being may need a physical manifestation of your repentance to truly forgive.
Joseph Seeks True Forgiveness
Joseph sought and found true forgiveness for his senior brothers. Recall that his brothers met him in Egypt approximately 20 years after they sold him to slavery. He was a powerful man, the administrative head of all Egypt. His brothers did not recognize him. He recognized them but did not reveal himself. Instead, he subjected them to several tests to verify their repentance.
Would you choose vengeance or forgiveness? Joseph’s brothers met with him in Egypt approximately 20 years after they sold him to slavery. As administrative head of Egypt, Joseph was in charge of abundant grain reserves that Egypt accumulated under his management during a seven-year period of abundance. He now presided over grain sales to people that came to Egypt from different parts of the world to buy supplies during a severe world-wide famine.
An opportunity to earn blessing often may be encountered first as a call to be compassionate. For example, when Joseph had compassion on two fellow inmates in Potiphar’s jail, he did not realize that the encounter was an opportunity for him to demonstrate competence that would later propel him from jail to the highest administrative position in Egypt. The two men were Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer and chief baker and were held in the same jail with Joseph.
Every parent will be delighted to know that his/her child’s reputation away from home draws respect and admiration and makes people want to assign greater responsibilities to the child. One such child was Joseph, the 11th son of Jacob. He was sold to Potiphar, captain of Pharaoh’s special guard, by Ishmaelite merchants that took him to Egypt having bought him from his brothers. Joseph quickly distinguished himself as someone that is attentive to needs, commits to doing what he could to provide for the needs, perseveres until he succeeds, and conveys the image of God in everything he did.
A tragic event in Joseph’s family that nearly claimed his life at a young age challenges us to think about the roles of parents and siblings in managing unequal opportunities among the children of one family; potential problems of polygamous relationships; and God’s willingness to direct our life events, including events that appear tragic, toward his purpose.
We discuss an approach to settling family dispute through unrelenting commitment to peace. The discussion focuses on interactions between Jacob and Esau while Jacob was on his way back to Canaan from Paddan Aram. He sent emissaries to Esau, conveying to him a message of humility, desire for peace, and description of progress that occurred in his life during the previous twenty years.
The bible provides practical guidance on settling family disputes. In this first of a two-part study, we learn about family dispute settlement, roles of the Council of Relatives, and the importance of sharing food, based on interactions between Jacob and Laban during Jacob’s departure from Paddan Aram. When Laban was informed that Jacob left with his household and belongings without telling him, he gathered his relatives and pursued Jacob, caught up with him at Gilead, and confronted him the next day in the presence of their relatives. The interaction that followed illustrates that the best approach to settling a family dispute is to make peace without necessarily digging for the truth, setup mechanisms for preventing future disputes, and invite God to witness and honor the settlement.
In this bible study we learn about business partnership agreements, leadership responsibilities, and re-alignment of relationships at marriage. The study focuses on interactions between Jacob and Laban during Jacob’s final six years in Paddan Aram and between Jacob and his wives in deciding to leave Paddan Aram to return to his Cradle in Canaan.
In this bible study, we learn about interactions within Jacob’s family during the birth of the children. The interactions illustrate an inherent problem in polygamist households. Because the husband cannot love two or more wives equally, the wives compete for their husbands love. The resulting rivalry among co-wives could dominate family life. For example, of the twelve sons of Jacob, nine were named in reference to rivalry between Leah and Rachel, two were named in reference to relationship with God, and one was named in reference to love. The passage reminds us of Paul’s counsel to Timothy to not appoint polygamists as overseers or deacons [1Timothy 3:2 & 12].