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Devotion about Joseph for the Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

We focus today on the Old Testament Reading, which is the account from Genesis 45 of Joseph forgiving his brothers in Egypt. Our devotional text comes from God’s Word for Today: Genesis.

Scripture Readings

Genesis 45:3–15
Psalm 103:1–13
1 Corinthians 15:21–26, 30–42
Luke 6:27–38

Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.

Devotional Reading

Sometimes the past is an incredible weight. It may be one mistake or a repeated sin that shrouds our life or haunts us like a demon. We cannot seem to forget it or overcome it. We hear the words of forgiveness. They tell us over and over that God forgives. We come again to the cross of Christ and hear the message of forgiveness. We celebrate Christ’s glorious resurrection. But still the pain of guilt does not leave us. It drives us into ourselves and separates us from God. It interferes with our relationships to others.

Joseph’s brothers knew the reality of guilt. Their act against Joseph, whether done out of youthful irresponsibility or in jealous anger of the moment, was never far from their thoughts. As they saw their father age and get closer to death, they must have longed to rid themselves of the guilt by telling him, but they could not.

And so they went on with their burden of guilt. They needed a Savior too.

Throughout Genesis 42–47, Joseph continues as a hero. Often his acts seem confused by his mixed feelings: joy at seeing his brothers again; caution that they might still be as hostile as they had been; the temptation to use his power to get revenge. Still he acts with kindness and concern for them and for his father.

But how much his brothers have changed! Those wild, careless young men, who tried to destroy a brother and almost killed their father with grief, are older and wiser now. They are obedient, courteous, repentant, and self-sacrificing. They genuinely seem to care about their father and do not wish to cause him further pain. Most important, they no longer hate their father’s favorite (Benjamin), but they protect him. Joseph forgives his brothers.

Jacob still laments the death of Joseph, and he fears so much for Benjamin that he will not let him go with the others to Egypt. But he is finally rewarded with happiness at being reunited with Joseph and prepares for the end of his life in Egypt, having been promised by God that he and his descendants will someday return to the Promised Land.

The whole account reads like a heartwarming drama. The human emotions are there—sorrow and joy, fear and frustration, need and giving, kindness and care. There is love—love shown by a man for his children and by the children for their father and for each other. Under it all, the guiding hand of God is there, caring for His own.

Devotional reading is adapted from God’s Word for Today: Genesis, pages 79–80 © 1994 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Hymn

Video is of “With High Delight Let Us Unite” © 2016 Concordia Publishing House.

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