In my devotions this morning, I was pondering the story of Joseph. His brothers betrayed him, and turned against him. He was apart from them for years, and when they came in his presence once more, he had a choice, to despise, or to forgive. Can you imagine what a place his brothers must have been in, upon hearing the words “I am Joseph” come from his lips? Truly, have you ever been in that place? Have you ever had a sin weighing upon you as a burden because it had not been reconciled? And then to find yourself in the presence of him who has power to bring judgment upon your head- how would you respond? Joseph’s brothers were stunned into silence, and greatly troubled. You and I can relate to this feeling, and can imagine the emotions and fears that would pass through their minds!
Our Lord and Savior holds a similar power, do you not realize? We each have sinned against Him greatly, and rejected Him to the depths of our being. Though we may be apologetic, repenting, and remorseful, there is nothing in our whole beings that deserves anything less than punishment to the fullest extent. Too often we forget that! When we approach the throne of grace, we aught not to come in expectation of grace- we should come in reverence and fear, as Esther did to the Persian throne, and as Josephs brothers do now.
When we lose sight of our state, and do not carry respect for our position and His, we come expecting a party. Remember the prodigal son? He came with a heart full of shame and remorse. We Christians are hindered by our knowledge of the end of the story. Let that not change our attitudes as we approach the throne. You must understand your position, before you can appreciate what a great love He has for you.
In his sermon titled “Joseph and the Brethren”, Charles Spurgeon presents His love this way:
“I want you to notice again, having given the invitation, what consolation Joseph gave! He did not say, “I am not angry with you; I forgive you:” he said something sweeter than that- “Be not angry with yourselves,” as much as to say, “As for me, ye need not question about that: be not grieved nor angry with yourselves.” So my blessed, my adorable Master, says to a poor, cast down, dejected sinner- “As for my forgiving you, that is done. My heart is made of tenderness, my bowels melt with love; forgive yourself; be not grieved nor angry with yourself: it is true you have sinned, but I have died; it is true you have destroyed yourself, but I have saved you. Weep no more; dry those eyes and sing aloud“‘
All this said, the Scriptures do say to "Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name". I do not intend to call you to a persistently mournful and depressing spirit. I intend to call you away from a callous heart that comes for favors, expecting blessings. A heart must be soft and broken, or His gift cannot be fully received. Do not let yourself get bored with the Gospel- it is the greatest amount of love and forgiveness you have ever received. Truly, it has changed your life. Do not allow yourself to become insensitive to this.