Sun. Jan 17th, 2021

By E. L. Thornton

SERMON 5

Gen 45:1-5
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.
2 And he wept aloud: and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard.
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.
4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.

Gen 50:20
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.

This scene, from the Old Testament, is very intriguing. Joseph, after many years of separation from his family, now stands before all his brothers. Thoughts are conjured up of the yesteryears, that are quickly forgotten in the excitement of present happenings. (are there some things in your yesterdays, that take away the joy of the present, that you need to forget) The years of separation had made him a stranger to his own household his brothers did not know him. The one that stands before them in regal robes was the aloof prime minister of the reigning empire of the era, to them he was a powerful political figure and not their little brother, their dreamer.

They wailed before him as beggars because of the crushing, consumming famine at home. Their domestic plight compelled them to be polite, they were frantic in the presence of the man who could label them as spies, or theives, and imprison them. They were strangers to this strange land and a strange governmemt. Who really cared for this nondescript band of Israelite brothers? Their father, Jacob, had sent them to Egypt to buy food but they were in danger of never returning to Canaan with the sought after substance.

Let me tell you a little about these men. They had plotted Joseph’s murder. They had mercilessly sold their brother as a common slave. They had deceived their father for decades. They were a lubricous, undependable, shifty, and an insidious bunch. They were liars and fabricators of falsehood, indulgers in mendacity(men-dac’-i-ty). They were, in no wise, worthy to be in the presence of this good man, Joseph. Sale Joseph into slavery? They should have sold themselves into slavery.

Words that describe Joseph are words like, honest, innocent, homogeneous,
virtuous, good, pure, and a host of other adjectives, would be appropriate for him.
My friends, this society desperately needs, not men like Joseph’s brothers, but men like Joseph, the stimulus and impetus of what men should be. Not a slave, not a prisoner, but a Godly man to the anomalous(a-nom’-a-las) (beyond the general rule)

This man, who has the life of this lubricous group in his hands, stands before them weeping. He weeps, not because of their hunger, not because of their sympathetic
condition, not because of their despicable demeanor, not because of their deplorable
predicament, he has every thing they need to change their situation, but he weeps rather out of love, its love that motivates the tears.

Can you be touched that easy. Even after someone has done you wrong? Are is it easy for you to hold a grudge, or resentment, or hostility, or bitterness, or animosity, or enmity, or just down right hate toward those that you feel have done you wrong.

My friends, if Joseph could love, forgive, and accept this degenerate and unethical assemblage, what will be our pretext for our lack of forgiveness, understanding, and love for those who have wronged us.

Sometimes life seems so unjust. There is so much trouble, conflict, struggle, and confusion. We are sometimes thrust into quandaries that are not our own making. We are thrown into distractions that we didn’t cause. We are hurled into perplexities that frighten us.

How do you think the woman felt when she awake and found that the baby beside her was dead and then to find that this baby wasn’t hers at all? (1 Kings 3:16) How do you think she felt when she found out that her baby had been kidnapped? How do you think she felt when she saw King Solomon raise the sword to split her child in half? The woman that had no love said “split the baby”, but when love spoke it said “no don’t split the baby, let it live.” What she’s really saying is “I’ll suffer the loss, I’ll suffer the pain, I’ll suffer the hurt, I’ll endue the embarrassment, I’ll take the vexation, just let the baby live.

If love ever speaks. Whatever the situation, whatever the circumstance, whatever the incident, whatever the episode, if love will communicate, if love will speak, if love will break it’s silence, if love will proclaim it’s edict, if love will decree it’s judgment, it will take off the rough edges. Love will be a soothing salve to the open wound of hurt. Love can be a bridge where two differences meet and cross over to God’s side.

Hate can kill, love can heal. Love is………………………………………………..
Slow to suspect——————–quick to trust
Slow to condemn——————quick to justify
Slow to offend———————quick to defend
Slow to reprimand—————–quick to forbear
Slow to belittle———————quick to appreciate
Slow to provoke——————-quick to give
Slow to hinder———————-quick to help
Slow to resent———————-quick to forgive

Such was the case of Joseph with his brothers. How could love do anything else.
Love melted his heart and moistened his eyes. Joseph was anxious to reconcile with his brothers. He was ready for a family reunion.

It is the elder brother, at the homecoming of the prodigal, that is hard to deal with. (Luke 15) He has an unforgiving spirit and he’s singing “I Shall Not Be Moved.”
He has an unyielding attitude, He has a “get even” disposition, He has a temperament like a junk yard dog growling out his indignation and displeasure. And the father begs him not to spoil the reunion.

If ever a man had reason to pronounce judgment on men, it was Joseph’s reasons.
It cut into their souls like a sharp knife when Joseph said, “I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.” He didn’t mean to remind them of that aversion, but they were reluctant to get close to him and he mistook they actions and thought they didn’t recognize him. Yes he had reasons, but he choose to let by gones be by gones and enjoy the pleasure at hand.

When love spoke it forgave years of wrong, it righted every evil and it soothed every hurt. I believe the scripture is right again when it says, (Prov 11:3-5) “The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them. The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.”

In the days of the American Revolutionary War there lived at Ephrata, Penn-
sylvania, a pastor by the name of Peter Miller who enjoyed the friendship of General George Washington. There also dwelt in that town one Michael Whittman, an evil minded man who did all in his power to abuse and oppose this pastor. One day Mr. Whittman was arrested for treason and sentenced to death. Rev. Miller started out on foot and walked the whole seventy miles to Philadelphia to plead for this man’s life. He was admitted into Washington’s presence and at once begged for the life of the traitor. Washington said, “No, Peter, I cannot grant you the life of your friend.” The preached exclaimed, “My friend, He’s the bitterest enemy I have.” Washington cried, What? You’ve walked seventy miles to save the life of an enemy?” And Rev. Miller took Michael Whittman from the very shadow of death back to his home, no longer as an enemy, but as a friend. That’s what love will do.

And I would like to insert here, “those who deserve love the least need it the most.”

 

From the “Readers Digest” I copied this——
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable, Be honest and frank anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
The biggest people with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest people with the smallest ideas. Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for the underdog anyway.
What you spend years building can and may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kick in the teeth. Give them the best anyway.
People can be unreasonable, illogical, self-centered, hateful, insulting, abusive, nasty, and down right detestable, and unworthy of love. Love them anyway.

I read in some old book, (1 Cor 13:1-8) “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth:”

It cost nothing but creates much
It enriches those who receive it, without impoverishing those who give it. It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes last forever. None are so rich that they don’t want it, and none are so poor that they can’t have it. It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in a business and is the countersign of friends. It is rest to the weary, uplifting to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad and nature’s best antidote for trouble. Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen, but it can be had. Love, the opposite of hate, has won more wars, settled more arguments, answered more controversy, calmed more contention, quieted more quarrels, and mollified more altercations that any force on this earth.

Love is an emotion, and emotions are controlled, you can love anybody, you must love everybody. If you don’t or can’t love everybody you don’t love God. If you don’t or can’t love everybody you don’t have the gift of God, the Holy Ghost.

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