God Can Use This for Good
Reminder: Watch this video the week of August 2nd - August 8th
Session 6 – Introduction:
It is a winning formula used in movies, TV shows, and books than you could track. The bad guy commits a crime -- and we all know he is guilty. The good guy goes after him, chases him down, and corners him (this can take up most of a movie or chapters of a book), Then, in a flurry of bullets, an epic sword fight, an intricate court battle, or some other face -to-face confrontation, the bad guy goes down and there is vindication at last! The judgement is swift and the audience or reader drinks in the satisfaction of seeing the bad guy get what he deserves.
If the Bible followed this formula, then Joseph's response to his brothers would be very severe. They had abused him, abandoned him, sold him like a side of beef, and turned their backs on him when he cried out for mercy. But now Joseph is the prince of Egypt, in a place of power and his brothers are weak and bowed down before him. Imagine the ending to this script, using the popular "good guy versus bad guy" motif:
BROTHERS (Bowing down, whimpering, and begging for mercy):
We are starving and our family back in Canaan is in need. Please help us!
JOSEPH, PRINCE OF EGYPT (Standing in regal authority looking down on his unsuspecting brothers): I don't believe you. You are spies. Guards, surround them!
REUBEN, OLDEST BROTHER (Still on the ground, but speaking for the family): Your highness, trust me; we are brothers, sons of the same father. Our youngest brother is still at home, and one dear brother died many years ago. Please believe me. Trust us.
JOSEPH (Eyes blazing with fire of vengeance): One of your brothers is dead? Really: Dead or betrayed? Tell me how your brother died!
SONS OF JACOB ( Camera pans their guilty faces, pressed against the marble floors of Pharaoh's palace)
JOSEPH (Shouting with angry judgment): Your brother is dead? Are you sure> You are about to wish he were! I am Joseph. I am the one you abused, rejected, and sold as a slave. The last thing I did over two decades ago, as you sold me for twenty shekels of silver was beg for mercy. Don't one of you dare ask for mercy now -- there will be none. (Nods at the soldiers)
SOLDIERS OF PHARAOH'S PALACE ( Surrounding Joseph's brothers, they slowly lift their swords)
Screen goes black... Seems like the ending to so many books and movies, doesn't it? But Joseph's ending is different, and so is ours -- if we know Jesus.
The biblical story turns things upside down and surprises us. In God's story, vengeance is replaced with grace. Death is overcome by life. Judgement is swept aside so that forgiveness can win the day. If we listen to the biblical story, we find that the ending can be radically different.
Think About it:
Tell about a favorite movie that follows the storyline of the bad guys "getting what they deserve." Why is this a popular theme?
KEY SCRIPTURES OF THE WEEK
Joseph Makes Himself Known
While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.”
He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 1 He says,“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.” And again,“I will put my trust in him.” And again he says, “Here am I, and the children God has given me.”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
1 John 2:1-2
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Joseph Reassures His Brothers