This week’s Torah Portion is somewhat different than how I usually teach. Usually, the teaching is more prophetically oriented. but this week, I want to talk about what made Joseph successful in Egypt – his “be”-attitudes – which will help us in our personal lives and in the coming Tribulation.
Joseph was amazing for another reason than that his life was the most prolific prophecy of Yeshua. It is amazing how resilient Joseph was to have not emerged in Egypt with a bitter root against his brothers. His attitude is an example for us all.
Genesis 41:1 opens with a downcast, almost scornful, Jacob asking his sons, “Why are you looking at each other? Go do something!” (Genesis 42:1-2).
Jacob’s tone is annoyed, perhaps even angry. There is a sense that the disappearance of Joseph still hangs over the family and perhaps is making their dysfunction worse than it was before the brothers “deceased” Joseph.
Here they are just looking at each other 22 years later. Maybe something is still bothering them. Have you ever wondered what they were thinking? Something like “we’re being punished by God with this famine for what we did to Joseph”? Could that thought have been running through their minds?
I have found that people most often do not associate their trail of harmed brethren with the calamities that happen to themselves. But it may be – and we will see this born out (Genesis 42:21-22 and 44:16) – that the brothers really had been disturbed by what they did to Joseph all this time.
Genesis 42:21 They said to one another, “We are certainly guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us, and we wouldn’t listen. Therefore this distress has come upon us.”
Genesis 42:22 Reuben answered them, saying, “Didn’t I tell you, saying, ‘Don’t sin against the child,’ and you wouldn’t listen? Therefore also, behold, his blood is required.”
Genesis 44:16 Judah said, “What will we tell my lord? What will we speak? How will we clear ourselves? God has found out the iniquity of your servants. Behold, we are my lord’s slaves, both we and he also in whose hand the cup is found.”
And therein lies what some brethren think which is that God doesn’t know about their iniquity already. Nope! He has to find out about it! What this means for those with this mindset is that they can get away with doing the wickedness they do to others – the trap setting, betraying, accusations of wrongdoing, character assassination, unforgiveness – not working toward repentance – reconciliation and restoration with others, rejection, robbery of another’s position and possessions, dividing others away from fellowship, grudge holding.
Like Judah, people think they can justify mistreating others because God won’t find out or they have a good excuse for what they did: God doesn’t already know what the person did to deserve such treatment.
What causes this attitude in people? It usually begins with picking up another’s offences.
Jacob’s sons probably were infected by Leah’s jealousy toward Rachel. That bitter root in her spread to her 8 sons and Rachel’s 2 sons by Bilhah. We must avoid people’s offences toward others at all cost. Don’t add their sins to your own by listening to their complaints. Always tell them to go to the one they are complaining about to work it out.
The scriptures say Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him. Jealousy results in a desire to harm. Harm others they do and not just the one they’re jealous of.
Also, people hang onto their hurts as they go through life and project them on others later as if those others did them harm. Bitter roots get tangled and angry and that comes out in their relationships.
Bitter roots suck the ability to forgive right out of people! They love their grudges and won’t let them go because ruminating on wrongdoing done to them somehow makes them feel better. But that’s not the real reason people hang onto grudges. The real reason is because they can use those grudges to justify how they mistreat and harm people.
The first life lesson Joseph has to teach us, his first “be”-attitude, is the lesson of forgiveness. Forgiveness is justice and mercy which is the foundation of the Kingdom.
Psalms 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne. Mercy and truth go before your face.
Forgiveness requires mercy. Without it, nothing else for the believer even matters. Without forgiveness for others, there is no forgiveness for you.
Forgiveness is both the salve that heals all wounds and is the completion, the very reason for, YHVH’s justice system. It is also all of YHVH’s justice system. It simply is provided for us – His system is provided for us – to get people to the point where they will repent to and forgive each other. We must have the determination and make the choice to reconcile and restore instead of wreck and run. YHVH’s justice is always a win-win for everyone in all situations.
Forgiveness is the poison that destroys bitter roots while grudges are the poison that kills mercy.
There is no hint anywhere in Genesis or Jasher that Joseph had a hard time forgiving his brothers or that it took a long time. We get the sense that Joseph healed so quickly that he rose to the top of his game quickly in Egypt both in Potiphar’s house and in the prison. Forgiveness was the main driver that helped Joseph to be an overcomer in his tribulation.
How do we know Joseph forgave so quickly his brothers?
Genesis 45:4 Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” They came near. “He said, I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt.
Genesis 45:5 Now don’t be grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.
Joseph may have come to this understanding only after being elevated to second in command of Egypt but he probably could not have become second in command unless he had already understood the need to forgive his brothers. Forgiveness changes the mindset from victim to victor!
We all say we want to be overcomers in the coming Tribulation. Yet so many find it so difficult to forgive and that lack of ability, for it is an ability, a skill, will prevent them surviving this world to enter the Kingdom whether they die and are resurrected or they live and are transformed.
In fact, most people do not know what forgiveness even looks like. I will show you an excellent example from scripture of what forgiveness looks like but first let me show what Joseph had to overcome in order to forgive.
We know about how his brothers treated him with disdain, how they ripped his clothing from him, put him in a pit, rejected him completely (they would not respond to his cries after they had already made their plan to reject him), deciding whether to kill or sell him, and then selling him to merchants who took him into exile all alone with no one to care about or for him.
Jasher says Joseph suffered greatly when the Ishmaelites took him. He wept so badly that the caravan stopped to beat him. That didn’t help. Joseph was, apparently, strong willed and he continued to wail at will. The hands of those who hit him withered (Jasher 42:28) by God’s intervention.
God also made the Ishmaelites’ camels unwilling to move until the Ishmaelites had repented and asked for forgiveness of Joseph. The Ishmaelites realized that they were being punished for beating him, according to Jasher 42:45-48.
Jasher 42:45 And the beasts and camels stood still, and they led them, but they would not go, they smote them, and they crouched upon the ground; and the men said to each other, What is this that God has done to us? what are our transgressions, and what are our sins that this thing has thus befallen us?
46 And one of them answered and said unto them, Perhaps on account of the sin of afflicting this slave has this thing happened this day to us; now therefore implore him strongly to forgive us, and then we shall know on whose account this evil befalls us, and if God shall have compassion over us, then we shall know that all this cometh to us on account of the sin of afflicting this slave.
47 And the men did so, and they supplicated Joseph and pressed him to forgive them.
Right there, upon hearing the words of repentance, Joseph’s heart began to heal. Even though this was secondary to what his brothers had done, this repentance after the fact, would have started the healing process for Joseph. Words of repentance in the ears of the wronged brings instant healing. How do I know? Here’s the rest of the story.
47 … and they said, We have sinned to the Lord and to thee, now therefore vouchsafe to request of thy God that he shall put away this death from amongst us, for we have sinned to him.
48 And Joseph did according to their words, and the Lord hearkened to Joseph, and the Lord put away the plague which he had inflicted upon those men on account of Joseph, and the beasts rose up from the ground and they conducted them, and they went on, and the raging storm abated and the earth became tranquilized, and the men proceeded on their journey to go down to Egypt, and the men knew that this evil had befallen them on account of Joseph.
Well, but this is in the Book of Jasher and it isn’t in our Bibles so where does the scripture say forgiveness brings instant healing?
Matthew 9:2 Behold, they brought to him a man who was paralyzed, lying on a bed. Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, “Son, cheer up! Your sins are forgiven you.”
Matthew 9:7 He arose and departed to his house.
An interesting point about the Ishmaelites, Gentiles, is that they made the connection of their troubles to their own actions but YHVH’s people so often don’t. I have found in my life that people outside the faith are sometimes more sensitive to their offences against others than YHVH’s own people who should be more sensitive about that than the Gentiles are!
Forgiveness is instant and forgiveness brings instant healing as it did in this account of the Ishmaelites with Joseph. Forgiveness heals the body and the soul of both parties. It heals, reconciles and restores the relationship between people and between them and YHVH.
Forgiveness is not a process as I have heard many say over the years and even recently. No! Forgiveness is not a process. It is one of the few things in scripture and in life that is not a process. It is instant! It is a decision between righteousness and justice or wickedness and injustice that we make. Not forgiving followed by full reconciliation and restoration means you’re holding a grudge and not necessarily a grudge against the person that sinned against you. It could be a grudge from many years ago that you hold against someone else.
So, forgiveness is not a process within the one who has been repented to. The process of forgiveness happens only in the heart of the sinner, the one who has done the repentance. It takes time for the repentant person whose heart has been humbled before YHVH and the one sinned against to forgive – the one who has sinned – to forgive itself. What happens to help the healing of the humbled heart, healing from its sin after repentance, is the total forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration of the forgiver, the one who was sinned against. That person’s love and mercy toward the repentant one manifests itself when he acts like nothing ever happened. That is what heals the broken and contrite heart of the repentant person.
I don’t know that the wording that I have written here explains what I am trying to say. There is a sinner who is repentant – he’s the repenter. And the one who was sinned against… The repentant person is the one who will have the process because we have a hard time forgiving ourselves, and if we’re really humble, we’re going to want to be looking in our own heart and finding out what made me do that!?
And the other person who is repented to is the forgiver of the sin needs to know that he doesn’t have a process to go through. All he needs to do is act like nothing ever happened. And when he does that, to his humbled brother that is still suffering from what he’s done because that is a broken and contrite heart, that is what will heal the repentant person’s broken and contrite heart.
But many brethren practice the “fine art” of rejection, continued humiliation and punishment of the repentant rather than acting like everything is reconciled and restored. That’s because they say they need to wait and watch to see if the repentance is “real”. Whether repentance is real or fake is not your business and you are usurping YHVH’s authority with that attitude. Only He can read the heart and their heart is between them and Him. Our job is to restore, to reconcile and restore.
Yeshua showed us repeatedly that forgiveness is instant and immediately restorative. That is all we need to know. The rest, the secret things of the heart, is for YHVH.
A grudge is evidence of unforgiveness which adds to your own sin. It hurts you, not the other person. The evidence of forgiveness is acting like nothing ever happened. There is a penalty for the unforgiving person.
Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Matthew 6:15 But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Isn’t it interesting that our relationship with the Father depends on how we treat others?
Luke 17 says:
Luke 17:3 Be careful. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him. If he repents, forgive him.
Luke 17:4 If he sins against you seven times in the day, and seven times returns, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.”
Forgiveness must be instant because if you have to forgive someone 7 times in a day their forgiveness each time has to be fresh. It can’t be tainted with the previous sins of that day or any other day, and it can’t result in you starting to complain about having to forgive the person over and over.
I said earlier that I would show you an excellent example of what true forgiveness actually looks like. It comes from Yeshua’s interaction with Peter after the resurrection. John 21 says the disciples had gone to Tiberias, Galilee, and were fishing (Tiberias sits on the shore of the Galilee). Yeshua showed up and cooked them fish and ate fish with them and then He addressed Peter. Specifically, Peter, and only Peter. This is a very important point so hang on to find out why that was so.
John 21:15 So when they had eaten their breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
John 21:16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I have affection for you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
John 21:17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you have affection for me?” Peter was grieved because he asked him the third time, “Do you have affection for me?” He said to him, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I have affection for you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.
I have pondered over the years and asked YHVH to explain to me what is the meaning behind this episode, and I believe He showed it to me this week.
Peter had denied Yeshua three times during Yeshua’s darkest moments. Thus, the three questions. Peter had repented, but his humbled heart still hurts and it wonders if he has been forgiven. This is why repentant often keep asking if they have been forgiven. Their heart is hurting. How did Yeshua handle this? He made Peter find out for himself that he has been forgiven by Yeshua. Yeshua made Peter declare that he loved Yeshua.
Yeshua was not testing Peter to see if Peter truly loved Him. He was making Peter understand what was inside Peter. Yeshua already knew what inside Peter.
The way we learn is through hearing. Yeshua got Peter to make those audio declarations of his love for Yeshua so Peter would be certain that Peter knew Peter loved Yeshua! It wasn’t to find out if Peter loved Yeshua. Yeshua knew Peter loved Him but Peter was struggling. This was only a few days after that horrible denial after which Peter went and cried his eyes out. He was still in grieving mode! Peter needed to know what was in his own heart and Yeshua drew it out of him.
But there was something deeper that Peter needed to know? What was Peter really having doubts about? The answer lies in Yeshua’s reply to Peter. In each instance when Yeshua was asking that question, and saying “feed my lambs”, “tend to my sheep, and “feed my sheep”, Yeshua was telling him, “Yes, you are still my Disciple and still qualified through my anointing to take care of my sheep”.
See, Peter was struggling with whether or not he was still qualified and anointed and would be allowed to feed Yeshua’s sheep because of what he did. Yeshua simply restored Peter back to the calling Peter had been trained for. Yeshua was showing, and us, what forgiveness means, what it means. When we are forgiven, we are back on the same footing that we were on before our sin was committed! Peter did not ever need to wonder if his relationship with Yeshua was in good standing because Yeshua acted like nothing ever happened! This is what forgiveness looks like. Anything less is just pretense and grudge holding.
So, if someone comes and asks forgiveness of us and then later is still struggling in his relationship with us we can handle it the same way Yeshua did. We can ask that person, “Do you love me?” We can then answer when that person says, “Yes”… We can say, “I love you”. And won’t you come over my house and let’s have coffee or come over and have lunch or let’s go walk on the beach somewhere and have fun or do whatever… That will heal his broken heart.
You know, Yeshua said as often as they come to repent, we need to forgive them. After we have forgiven them, as often as they come to us asking “do you love me”, we need to reassure them that our relationship is restored. This is what we can do for our brethren.
Joseph could not have survived his tribulation without being able to forgive and his forgiveness had to be instant with instant affect. The brothers were not there to repent to him, but Joseph had already put his forgiveness for them with the Father so that they, at any time, could receive it from the Father on Joseph’s behalf.
YHVH’s people should never let conflicts of any kind or sins come between them. It won’t be allowed in the Kingdom so why are we doing it now?
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, outcry, and slander, be put away from you, with all malice.
Ephesians 4:32 And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God also in Christ forgave you.
Only through forgiveness of others can we attain to the highest level of the next “be”-attitude – praise. I believe Joseph did a lot of praising in his situation, in Potiphar’s house and in that in prison.
Let’s go to the account of another man who was betrayed by his family and friends, King David. All we have to do is read his Psalms to know that David both suffered at the hands of others but that he quickly praised YHVH during those times.
Psalm 22, written by David, says YHVH inhabits the praises of His people.
Psalms 22:1 For the Chief Musician; set to “The Doe of the Morning.” A Psalm by David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning?
Psalms 22:2 My God, I cry in the daytime, but you don’t answer; in the night season, and am not silent.
Psalms 22:3 But you are holy, you who inhabit the praises of Israel.
Praise is our first weapon in the fight against injustice. Psalm 22 begins with David’s lament but it soon changes to praise and he begins to recite the wonderful things YHVH has done for His people.
Read Psalm 135. It wasn’t written by David but its author understood praise!
Psalms 135:1 Praise Yah! Praise Yahweh’s name! Praise him, you servants of Yahweh,
Psalms 135:2 you who stand in Yahweh’s house, in the courts of our God’s house.
Psalms 135:3 Praise Yah, for Yahweh is good. Sing praises to his name, for that is pleasant.
Psalms 135:4 For Yah has chosen Jacob for himself; Israel for his own possession.
Psalms 135:5 For I know that Yahweh is great, that our Lord is above all gods.
Are you in the doldrums? Praise YHVH! Praise Him because He is our God and King! He is our redeemer and deliverer and He has this thing under control whatever it is. It doesn’t take long for the heart condition to change from doldrums to delight!
This is a choice and one that must become a habit like David had and which Joseph likely had before David was around and that Paul and Silas later had in Acts 16:25.
Joseph had his time to weep and wail on his way to Egypt. It is ok for us to weep and wail but it is not ok, nor is there benefit in, staying in this place. There comes a time to accept our circumstances because not one of our steps is out of line with YHVH’s will if we believe in Him.
Romans 8:28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.
Joseph knew what Paul would later show us.
Do we know for sure that Joseph was a praiser and thanker of YHVH? The scripture says nothing of how he got through that ordeal but he came out on the other side without having developed a bitter root!
Joseph had to have had a mindset of forgiveness followed by praise because he recovered without being bitter even before he was elevated by Pharaoh. He was successful in Potiphar’s house and in prison.
Just after Psalm 135 is Psalm 136. Thank YHVH for He is good, for His mercies endure forever! Gratitude comes easy after praising.
All twenty six verses of Psalm 136 mention YHVH’s ‘chesed’, His mercy, sometimes translated as loving kindness. Give thanks to YHVH for all of His many blessings in your life. Mercy is the number one component of forgiveness.
Gratitude is the younger brother of praise. He comes along throughout the day to remind us of how blessed we are to have such a great God and King and that, in return for having such a blessed relationship with our God and King, we should thank Him and often.
Forgiveness is a commandment and requirement in order for us to have a successful walk with each other and with YHVH. Praise brightens our days on earth and gratitude contributes to the inner peace that understands who is in control.
Praise and gratitude are skills to help us walk correctly before YHVH.
Psalms 18:49 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.
Psalms 30:12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.
Psalms 35:18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.
Psalms 69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
Psalms 79:13 So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.
Psalms 92:1 A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:
Psalms 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
Psalms 106:1 Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Psalms 106:47 Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the heathen, to give thanks unto thy holy name, and to triumph in thy praise.
Psalms 147:7 Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:
Heb 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
YHVH’s people are called to ask for forgiveness when we sin, to forgive those who sin against us and then to praise and thank YHVH for giving us these gifts! Then, like Joseph, we will be able to endure our Tribulation to the end when we will see our brothers come to Yeshua and we will see Yeshua come to the earth to take His rightful place on the throne on Mount Zion!
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