- Sermon Notes
A Time to Forget
As we continue our study in Genesis we find Joseph’s life taking a dramatic turn. It seemed that everything that could go wrong did go wrong. After receiving a dream from God that he would rise above his brothers, his brothers didn’t think much of Joseph’s dream and plotted to kill him. This was changed into an opportunity to make some money and he was sold as a slave instead.
Being purchased by Potiphar, captain of the bodyguard, he found great success in Potiphar’s house. But Potiphar’s wife tried to trap him into a liaison, but he refused. As a result he was thrown into prison, his dreams seeming impossibly distant.
Here again he found success and was trusted to oversee other prisoners. He was asked to oversee the chief cupbearer and chief baker who then each had dreams. Joseph was given the interpretation that the cupbearer would be restored, so Joseph asked that he remember to help him get out of prison. But he did not remember for two more years.
But then Pharaoh had a dream that no one could interpret, and the cupbearer remembered Joseph. When he appeared before Pharaoh he once again pointed toward God as the One to glorify and gave the interpretation – there would be seven years of prosperity followed by seven years of famine. He then suggested ways to prepare for the famine by storing up grain during the seven years of plenty. Pharaoh saw the wisdom of Joseph, set him in a place of authority that he might prepare for the nation for the years of famine.
He also gave Joseph an Egyptian wife and she bore him two sons. It is in the naming of these two sons that we focus our study this morning, because as he reveals his heart in the naming of these boys we gain insight into our own lives as well.
I. Blessed are They Who Can Forget
- The name Joseph gives his first son is Manasseh which means forgetting. This is a reminder to Joseph that God has allowed him to forget.
A. Forgetting is part of healing
- Verse 51 – Even here Joseph gives the glory to God and says that God has made him forget all his troubles.
- There is something very right in understanding that this is part of a maturing relationship to God.
- Does our relationship to God make any difference? Are we changed? Are we different? The more we understand who God is and who we are in light of that truth, the more we change and are character becomes more godly.
- In fact, Paul wrote that “Does not take into account a wrong suffered.”
Illus - Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was reminded one day of a vicious deed that someone had done to her years before. But she acted as if she had never even heard of the incident. "Don't you remember it?" her friend asked. "No," came Barton's reply, "I distinctly remember forgetting that."
Philippians 3:13-14, but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Illus – There is a story of a pastor who happened upon a box under the bed that held three eggs and a roll of $20 bills…
Illus – at first we choose to be bitter, but eventually we don’t have to choose anymore, that’s just who we become. There was a young woman whose fiancé ran off with her best friend. She could never forgive, and eventually she became a bitter old woman that never found love.
B. God never forgets
- There are some who like to teach that God cannot remember our sin, but if that were true we would know something that God doesn’t, and for some people that would mean that they know a lot more than God does because of how much sin is in their lives.
- The truth is that God does not forget, He takes the penalty for our sin and lays it on His Son, Jesus Christ.
- He does not hold it against us when it comes to giving us salvation because it was laid on Christ.
Isaiah 43:25, I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
Psalm 25:7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to Your lovingkindness remember me, for Your goodness' sake, O Lord.
- And God does not forget the importance of reconciliation. There are so many broken relationships because of all the hurts and wounds of the past.
- God is at work in ways we cannot see, “He will make a way where there seems to be no way.”
- We need to be willing.
Illus – God made a way for reconciliation with his brothers. “God made me forget all my father’s household.” Not quite; God was making a way... when the famine came, the brothers came also.
- The whole of God’s plan depended on Joseph forgiving his brothers. Gen 45:5, 7-8
Illus – Paul Michel, the pastor or the Calvary Chapel in St. Helens, recently told me that he and his father had not spoken to each other in 20 years. But God made a way and when they started talking again, he led his father to the Lord.
- There are many relationships that are broken and God wants to change us so we can be part of healing.
Illus - There's a Spanish story of a father and son who had become estranged. The son ran away, and the father set off to find him.
He searched for months to no avail. Finally, in a last desperate effort to find him, the father put an ad in a
C. Some things must be remembered
- Many people are in great need of healing because of the lies that they have heard for so many years.
- For Joseph, freedom meant remembering that God was still above all things and able to do all that He said He would do.
- For us, it is remembering all that God has done for us. It is remembering how much we have been forgiven.
Matthew 18:21-22, Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
- This is what frees us from the prison and bondage of the lies that the “accuser of the brethren” will use to keep us from being free.
- We have a tendency to ‘personalize’ so many things that happen to us, but when we personalize things we take God out of the picture.
Psalm 63:6-8, When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.
II. Be Fruitful in Affliction
- Joseph named his second son Ephraim which means fruitfulness, because God had made him fruitful in the land of his affliction.
- There is great personal application for us in this name as well.
A. Bring the fruit of God in your life
- Notice that bringing fruit comes after forgetting. You can’t see good fruit in your life unless you first let go of the hurts, wounds and disappointments in life.
- This is the fruit of God that comes from having a relationship to Him.
John 15:5, 8, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing… My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”
Illus – The opposite of good fruit is sour grapes. If you’ve ever eaten a sour grape unexpectedly you know how they become the focus of the meal.
The pain we feel often becomes the focus of our lives (like hitting our thumb with a hammer). May God heal the hurt and the pain and then bring good fruit.
- I am convinced that God used the suffering and pain of my past for good. God allowed me to have understanding on those who are hurting through the pain of a broken family.
- When Jesus told Peter that Satan wanted to sift him like wheat, He then told Peter to strengthen your brothers when you turn again.
Luke 22:31-35 – “strengthen your brothers”
B. Find life in the land of affliction
- Joseph didn’t wait for things to get better; he started to be fruitful right in the midst of the affliction he suffered.
- You can see that so clearly in how he encouraged the two officials while in prison together (Gen 40:7).
- How is it possible to bear fruit in a place of affliction? It completely depends from where you drink…
Psalm 63:1-5 My soul thirsts for you…
Illus – Paul wrote most of the letters to the churches while in a prison in
- Be like a tree planted by streams of water.
Jeremiah 17:7-8, Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.
Genesis 41:50-57 NASB