Joseph’s Coals of Fire


Series: Life of Joseph

Title: 8. Joseph's Coals of Fire Genesis 45; Repaying good for evil. #forgiveness


  • 2016-03-12: White Rock Lake

  1. Introduction:
    1. Anger
      1. “I don’t get mad; I get even”: Have you ever heard that? Church fights in NY (organ and piano playing different speeds, voting by secret ballot, appeal to stop fighting met with, “the devil was in the pulpit”)
      2. When I was a kid, I used to have a hot temper. One verse my parents used on me: Romans 12:19, 20.
    2. Topic: “Joseph’s Coals of Fire”
      1. How can one repay good for evil?
    3. Review
      1. Gen 44: Joseph tests his brothers by framing Benjamin for the theft of his silver divination cup and announcing that he would enslave Benjamin as a penalty, while releasing the other brothers.
        1. (By the way, divination is condemned in the Bible. Joseph claimed the cup was for divination, which raised the stakes—and was quite believable for a high Egyptian official—but while the cup may have been made for that purpose, there’s no evidence that he actually practiced divination. In fact, God had given him better knowledge of the future through dreams.)
      2. Judah begs Joseph to take him instead of Benjamin out of consideration for his father.
  2. This week’s story
    1. Background: Genesis 45:1-3: Joseph’s revelation—brothers are dismayed: They know they wronged Joseph, and they know that he is in a position to take vengeance. (Interestingly, they never apologize, until a half-hearted, self-seeking apology after their father dies.)
    2. Genesis 45:4-8: Recognize God’s hand
      1. Joseph recognizes God’s hand in the events of his life. (Genesis 50:20—spoken nearly 20 years later, after Jacob’s death)
      2. When we consider that God has His hand on the controls, it’s harder to carry a grudge against someone.
      3. No matter what, God is at work.
      4. Song: “When You Can’t Trace His Hand, Trust His Heart”
    3. Genesis 45:9-15: Act, whether you want to or not
      1. Joseph took action. In his case, this was an emotional reunion, and clearly, he was glad to see his family again.
      2. Sometimes, though, we really don’t want to respond with kindness and grace. No matter.
      3. Feelings follow action. The correct behavior will usually produce the correct feelings.
      4. Romans 12:20: We are called to respond with kindness.
      5. Acts 16
        1. Paul and Silas wrongfully imprisoned
        2. The jailer treats them cruelly, more so than he was commanded to
        3. God sends an earthquake of deliverance which busts the prison open
        4. Vv. 27, 28: Paul saves his tormentor’s life
      6. This was Jesus’ way on the cross
    4. Genesis 45:16-24 (Focus: v. 24) Don’t be blind to reality
      1. Heaping coals on someone’s head doesn’t guarantee that they will change
      2. Joseph tested his brothers. Here, he tests them again and shows that he knows their natures.
      3. Forgiveness and kindness shouldn’t blind us to the truth. We may still have to take precautions.
    5. Epilogue: Genesis 45:25-28: Great news!