Stand Firm - know your labour for the Lord is not in vain!
Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” (Genesis 45:1-3)
What an incredible moment this must have been for Joseph: his brothers had intended to harm him and Joseph ‘gets it’ and avoids a further ‘trap’. He begins to realise the significant journey he has made from the arrogant ‘know it all’ young boy to the significant leader, who would save many from destruction, and the role he must play in the restoration with his
family. After all Joseph could easily have fallen into the destructive mentality of wanting to avenge his past hurt. He chooses differently and looks to repair the past, to practise repentance and views ‘what happened’ with clarity by understanding it as a way to gain and grow in wisdom. Even after their Father has died the brothers still struggle with their past:
“What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” (50:15)
“Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. (50:19-21)
After all that had happened Joseph replied ‘kindly to them’. This shows the level of repair Joseph had reached. Joseph is a resilient character and his story reminds us that resilient people: look to repair the past, practise repentance, and look back to gain wisdom.
REFLECTION & STUDY
Consider and reflect on Joseph’s story: do you relate to any part of or emotion contained within it?
Reflect on Joseph’s response - he reassured them and spoke kindly to them (21). How easy would that have been to do in reality?
Joseph chose to repair the past rather than destroy the present. Discuss how difficult that might have been to do. 1. What do you think would have been your natural inclination - to punish or forgive? Why?
Discuss and reflect on the phrase ‘know your labour for the Lord is not in vain!’ - What does the phrase mean? 1. Think about a time (or times!) where you used your gifts to serve. 2. Consider what ‘drives’ your service?
1. READ Luke 15:17-18 where Jesus describes an act of repentance. Repentance is
indispensable to the resilient life and is a spiritual habit to engage in and with.
2. Confess your need of God - READ Psalm 51:1-2.
3. Pray for those who you struggle to get along with. Ask God to help, strengthen and
support your working together and friendship.
IDEAS FOR FAMILIES
This section provides a few ideas for families to engage with the ‘Week of Prayer’ material. It acts as a guide for you to develop with your family as appropriate.
TO TALK ABOUT: Saying sorry is the hardest thing!
Ask the children what they should do if they get something wrong. Why do we do that?
Talk to the children about the story of Joseph. What do the children know or remember about the story? i.e his blood stained coat, left in a well, being sold as a slave, becoming Pharaoh’s second in command, the goblet, Joesph forgives his brothers.
Remind them about the end of the story where Joseph “reassured them and spoke kindly to them.” Joseph could have punished his brothers but he decided not to do that. How do the children feel about that?
ACTIVITY (Optional): Think about the story of Joseph - perhaps you could act out the appropriate parts of the story with Lego or draw pictures for each part of the story.
TO THINK ABOUT: The way people serve or do jobs in the church - are
there people we could say thank you to.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for the story of Joseph. Help us to forgive people like Joseph did. AMEN
PBC Week of Prayer 2020
Thursday 2nd - Wednesday 8th January 2020