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Genesis 41:50-57

A Time to Forget

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • August 12, 2018

The king of Egypt 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 because as he reveals his heart in the naming of these boys we gain insight into our own lives as well.

  • Sermon Notes

A Time to Forget

Genesis 41:50-57

In these recent chapters in Genesis Joseph’s life takes 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.

He was sold to some Midianites travelers who took him to Egypt where he was 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.

But here again, in prison, he found success and was trusted to oversee other prisoners. At one point he was told to oversee the king of Egypt’s 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 Joseph and there he remained in prison for two more years.

But then Pharaoh had a dream that no one could interpret, and then cupbearer remembered that Joseph interpreted dreams. 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 wisdom in Joseph and set him in a place of authority that he might prepare for the nation for the years of famine.

The king of Egypt 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

  • Joseph gives his first son the name ‘Manasseh’ which means forgetting. “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”

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 your relationship to God make any difference? Are you changed? Are you different? The more we understand who God is and who we are in light of that truth, the more we change and the more our character changes, becoming more godly.
  • In fact, Paul wrote that “Love 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?” 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 hold on to offenses, to be bitter, but eventually we don’t have to choose it 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.

A.God never forgets

  • There are some who teach that God cannot remember our sin. If that were true then we would know something that God doesn’t know, and for some people that would mean that they a whole know a lot more than God because of how much sin was in their lives.
  • The truth is that God never forgets, He takes the condemnation and 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. 

B. God never forgets

  • There are some who teach that God cannot remember our sin. If that were true then we would know something that God doesn’t know, and for some people that would mean that they a whole know a lot more than God because of how much sin was in their lives.
  • The truth is that God never forgets, He takes the condemnation and 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.

  • In other words, “I won’t hold it against you, I won’t remind you of your past, I will not take it into account

Psalm 25:7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to Your loving kindness 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.” 
  • But 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.

Genesis 45:5, 7-8, “And now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life… God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God.”

Illus – Paul Michel, the pastor or the Calvary Chapel in St. Helens, 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 story of a father and son in Spain who became 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 Madrid newspaper. The ad read: Dear Paco, meet me in front of this newspaper office at noon on Saturday. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father. On Saturday 800 Pacos showed up, looking for forgiveness and love from their fathers.

C. Some things must be remembered

  • Many people need healing because of the lies they have heard for so many years of their lives.
  • 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, 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.”

  • The point is not to keep track of offenses until you reach 490. (There’s an app for that.) But to choose over and over to forgive until you become a forgiving person.
  • Forgiving is what frees us from the prison and bondage of the lies that the “accuser of the brethren” uses to keep us from being free.
  • We tend to ‘personalize’ so many things that happen to us, but when we take things personally we take God out of the picture.

Psalm 63:6-8, 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 for 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 it immediately becomes the focus.

When you feel pain it becomes the focus of your life (like hitting your thumb with a hammer). May God heal the hurt and the pain and then bring fruitfulness.

  • 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.
  • I have compassion for those who have lost a child, especially those who have lost a child to murder.
  • Jesus warned Simon Peter that Satan would sift him like a wheat.In other words, his faith would be tested through a great trial…

Luke 22:31-32, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

B.  Find life in the land of affliction

  • Joseph didn’t wait for things to get better; he became fruitful amidst the affliction he suffered.
  • You can see that in how he encouraged the two officials of the king of Egypt while in prison together… 

Genesis 40:6-8, When Joseph came to the cupbearer and the baker in prison, he observed them, and behold, they were dejected.And he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were with him in confinement in his master’s house, “Why are your faces so sad today?”Then they said to him, “We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it.”Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God?Tell it to me, please.”

  • How is it possible to bear fruit in a place of affliction? It completely depends from where you drink…

Psalm 63:1-5, O God, You are my God and I will seek you earnestly. My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water….Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You.I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.

Illus – Paul wrote most of the letters to the churches while a prisoner in Rome.

  • 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.

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