Word Alive! © 2020 Summer Series
We Can Get Through This!
Concord Baptist Church of Boston in Milton
Conley Hughes, Jr., Senior Pastor
Tuesday, 15, Sept., 2020
Max Lucado, “You’ll Get Through This,” Lesson 12, (Chapter 11)
Devotional Time: “You’ll Get Through This,” (pp. 109-111)
Overcoming Revenge - As we all try to navigate life during a difficult season, often we must face personal issues which affect our relationships. The land of Canaan, and the larger region which included Egypt, was bracing themselves for one of the worst famines they would ever encounter. Joseph’s trials had come as the result of a difficult family relationship. Despised by ten of his eleven brothers, Joseph’s ordeal in Egypt began when they sold him into slavery. Nearly 22 years after Joseph had arrived in Egypt, he was face to face with the brothers who had mistreated him. Joseph, despite his ability to rebound from the trials he faced, bore the anguish, anger, and pain he had developed over those years. Joseph was upset with his brothers, and initially spoke harshly to them, and had them remanded to prison for 3 days. Joseph had every opportunity to seek revenge, for the wrong his brothers perpetrated against him. But, as Joseph’s new relations with his brothers emerge, we see him treating his brothers with care and compassion. The scriptures acknowledge the hurt we experience in life, but admonishes us to avoid permitting “bitterness” to take root in us, along with its deadly consequences (cf. Hebrews 13:15, NLT). Anger is described in the scriptures as a normal emotional response in many circumstances; but we are told to “control” anger, rather than allowing anger to control us (cf. Ephesians 4:26, NLT). We are admonisher further, to cultivate godly virtues, and to rid ourselves of vices which are harmful (cf. Ephesians 4:31-32, NLT). Max Lucado says “forgiving” another person seems less difficult, than not wanting to “get even” with the person. He says this is why vengeance becomes the purview of God alone. Lucado says, “Vengeance” is God’s. He will repay -whether ultimately on the Day of judgement or intermediately in this life.” When a person has been wronged, they and the wrong-doer must ultimately be set free to do what is right. God alone, has the power to avenge wrong and to determine the appropriate justice (cf. Deuteronomy 32:35-36, NKJV). The term used in the Old Testament for “vengeance,” is the Hebrew word, naqam (naw-quam; which means “to avenge;” or, “to punish or discipline.” In contrast to harming others who hurt us, we are to treat them differently (Proverbs 25:21-22, NLT). God will then reward us!
God’s Repayment –Try as we might, we are incapable of forgiving others to the extent that God does. Similarly, we could never punish a person the way God can. It’s important that we seek to “forgive” the offending party, rather than exert our energy and passions on bringing harm to the person (cf. Romans 12:17-19, NLT). In his devotional book, You’ll Get Through This, author Max Lucado says, “Forgiveness doesn’t dimmish justice; it just entrusts it to God. He guarantees the right [justice]…” It’s possible that notwithstanding all of Joseph’s hurt and anger he suppressed over his terrible treatment, he still sought to treat his brothers better (cf. Genesis 43:15-16a, b, NLT). Joseph seemed to express God’s view about reconciling people back to Him. Lucado describes what he feels is God’s sense of mercy even for persons who harm others. He says, “Unlike us, God never gives up on a person. Never. Long after we have moved on. God is still there, probing the conscience, stirring conviction. Always orchestrating redemption. Fix your enemies? That’s God’s job.” Joseph had detained Simeon as surety that the brothers would bring their youngest brother, Benjamin, back to Egypt. The brothers had discovered in each of their sacks the money that they thought they had paid Joseph for the grain they received. Fearing Joseph would accuse them of trying to steal the grain they brought additional money to prove their integrity. When the brothers tried to explain themselves, Joseph’s household manager had an unexpected response. He told the brothers they had already paid for the grain and he was witness to the transaction (cf. Genesis 13:20-23, NLT). There would be other surprises awaiting the brothers! When we allow God to deal with persons who harm us, we resist the enemy’s attempt to usurp authority over our lives and resources. Beneath Joseph’s inner hurt, was a stream of assurance giving him peace that God had something to do with his trials. One of my endearing seminary professors, the late Dr. Gardner Calvin Taylor, would rightly say, “God’s judgement is His mercy, and His mercy is judgment.” Remaining close to God helps us overcome revenge! We’re to trust God for His final word!
What We Believe
Personal vengeance never accomplishes good.
1. We should pray for our enemies, rather than plot against them!
2. The devil invades our territory when we give in to bitterness!
Hebrews 13:15, NLT
“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”
Ephesians 4:26, NLT
“And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.”
Ephesians 4:31-32, NLT
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”
Deut. 32:35-36, NKJV
“Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things to come hasten upon them.” For the Lord will judge His people and have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their power is gone. And there is no one remaining, bond or free.”
Proverbs 25:21-22, NKJV
“If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to…
Prov. 25:21-22, C’td, NKJV
… drink; For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”
Romans 12:17-19, NLT
“Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge, I will pay them back says the Lord.”
Genesis 43:15-16a, b, NLT
“So the men packed Jacob’s gifts and double the money and headed off with Benjamin. They finally arrived in Egypt and presented themselves to Joseph. When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the manager of the household, “These men will eat with me this noon. Take them inside the palace…”
Genesis 43:20-23, NLT”
Sir,” they said, “we came to Egypt once before to buy food. But as we were returning home we stopped for the night and opened our sacks. Then we dis-covered that each man’s money-the exact amount paid- was in the top of the sack! Here it is; we have brought it back with us. We also have additional money to buy more food. We have no idea who put our money in our sacks.” “Relax.” “Don’t be afraid,” the household manager told them. “Your God, the God of your father, must have put treasure into your sacks. I know I received your payment.” Then he released Simeon and brought him out to them.”