March 18, 2019

How to Live the Abundant Life

Genesis 50

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Then Joseph fell on his father's face and wept over him and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So the physicians embalmed Israel. Forty days were required for it, for that is how many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days.

And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, ‘My father made me swear, saying, “I am about to die: in my tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there shall you bury me.” Now therefore, let me please go up and bury my father. Then I will return.’” And Pharaoh answered, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear.” So Joseph went up to bury his father. With him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father's household. Only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen. It was a very great company. 10 When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and grievous lamentation, and he made a mourning for his father seven days. 11 When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians.” Therefore the place was named Abel-mizraim;1 it is beyond the Jordan. 12 Thus his sons did for him as he had commanded them, 13 for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite to possess as a burying place. 14 After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.

God's Good Purposes

15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: 17 ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people2 should be kept alive, as they are today. 21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

The Death of Joseph

22 So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father's house. Joseph lived 110 years. 23 And Joseph saw Ephraim's children of the third generation. The children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were counted as Joseph's own.3 24 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die, but God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” 25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” 26 So Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.


[1] 50:11 Abel-mizraim means mourning (or meadow) of Egypt
[2] 50:20 Or a numerous people
[3] 50:23 Hebrew were born on Joseph's knees

How to Live the Abundant Life

Key Verse | Genesis 50:19–21

But Joseph said to them, "Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones." Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

Bio | Elissa Massey

Good morning! (I am not a morning person so that was hard to say.) I'm so thankful to be a part of your day today. The Lord has been changing my heart since I surrendered my life to Him in May 2016. Watermark quickly became my second home six months later, and you can find me throughout the week at Kaleidoscope (Watermark's special needs ministry), Shoreline (the high school ministry), and Training Ground (Watermark's midweek children's ministry)!

Central Truth

Only God can work through Joseph's brothers' evil actions of exile and abuse to save many lives through a horrible famine. Genesis is a book of beginnings, and Joseph gave his brothers such when he was so quick to forgive them.

Devotional | Genesis 50

This story of redemption is so unique because there was no vengeance or hatred. Joseph treated his brothers with mercy, lovingkindness, and undeserved favor. I've found it extremely challenging to forgive...

This story of redemption is so unique because there was no vengeance or hatred. Joseph treated his brothers with mercy, lovingkindness, and undeserved favor. I've found it extremely challenging to forgive others when hurt in such ways, especially when forgiveness isn't asked for. As hard as I am on others, I've found myself to be harder on myself. "We cannot repent for someone else. But we can forgive someone else, refusing to hold hostage those whom the Lord seeks to set free." —Neal A. Maxwell

Joseph didn't have to forgive his brothers, and honestly, it was probably harder to forgive his family and remain faithful following these events. Joseph lived an abundant life because he wasn't enslaved to the strong ties of bitterness, anger, and an unforgiving nature that we tend to be chained to. We're reminded in Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT): "Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end." We don't need to fully understand God's plan to know it's good and that His right hand is guiding us through our lives. "[B]ecause he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken." (Psalm 16:8)

At Hideaway, a Watermark high school ministry retreat, Jermaine Harrison defined the abundant life as "knowing God so well that we see what He sees, do as He says, and eventually live where He lives." He gave us some "tools" we (desperately) need to experience the abundant life: "Guidance from the Holy Spirit, other like-minded people, and a faith that never gives up." I would encourage y'all to work to believe in God's promises and trust Him through whatever trial you are in. What was once meant for evil, God meant for good (Genesis 50:20). He will use you to save many lives, as He did Joseph, when you begin or continue the abundant life we are called to.

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Discussion Questions

1. Whom do you need to forgive today? What realistic steps can you take to truly work toward becoming free from this?

2. Are you living the abundant life? What changes need to be made to begin this journey or to improve it?

3. Living the abundant life, as scary as it may seem, involves community and vulnerability through like-minded people. Do you have this in your life? If not, to whom can you reach out today to begin this journey?

4. How are you doing at trusting God? Read through Jeremiah 17:7-8, figure out where you are personally, and pray that your reliance on Him would either increase or continue.

11 Comments available

MaryAnn Adair about 1 year ago

Great discussion questions-thank you

Jay Caruso about 1 year ago

I am almost caught back up I have loved this journey of those for in the story of Joseph it meant so lightning to me and giving me even more reasons to forgive and have a grace thank you Elissafor a wonderful devotion

Marina Delgado about 1 year ago

Thanks for your devotional, Kelly That was so encouraging! The beautiful aspect about true forgiveness ins that the forgiver’s soul is completely fresh, clean, and transparent. The story of Joseph may be seen repeated everywhere.

Michael Scaman about 1 year ago

Joseph was aware everything was meant for good that happened to him. Perhaps that’s part of ability to forgive. Someone forgiven will also be thankful and be more able to forgive other.

We also see a confluence of wills going on. All the players in the story freely exercised their wills, some with evil intent. God had an overarching purpose and the decisive will for good - for the good of Jacob’s family and benevolent good for even the Egyptians. Lots going on. God’s will decisive.

greg jones about 1 year ago

Mornings are overrated. Amen sister!

I thought the Neal Ash Maxwell quote fit well in your devotional. It reminds me of Romans 14:10-13.

Great devotional.

Don Freeman about 1 year ago

Thank you for the word

Michael Scaman about 1 year ago

God had a plan to save the ‘sinners’, it even involved the ‘sinners’ virtually killing the one who would be used to bring salvation. They meant it for evil. God meant it for good.

"…you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today… "

The shadow of Jesus is over the whole story.

Sue Bohlin about 1 year ago

Super, super devo Elissa! I love how you’ve obviously been listening and absorbing the good teaching you’re receiving in the student ministry!

I’m smiling at the sweetness of the Lord’s timing in providing THIS chapter and THIS devo the very day after Adam Tarnow’s amazing 2-part series on forgiveness. We’ve just seen the fruit of forgiveness in Joseph’s life: he sustained a serious wound to his soul in his brothers’ wicked meanness, but because he forgave them, the wound had healed to a painless scar. Joseph’s tears after Jacob’s death weren’t from lingering hurt from his brothers’ sin against him, but from grief that they didn’t truly believe his forgiveness was real. When we forgive “from the heart,” as Jesus said in Matthew 18:35, we can remember the offense without it causing pain any more. That’s freedom.

Hope Harris about 1 year ago

My goal in our readings this year is to see the story of Jesus. As we wrap up Genesis we see God turns the evil/sinful intentions for God and preserves the Messianic line of Judah through Joesph’s painful circumstances.

It strikes me how gracious Joesph is in his response to his brothers. He models what releasing our painful past into God’s hands looks like. Allowing God to to use even our pain and suffering for His honor and glory.

Lindsey Driscoll about 1 year ago

Elissa, thank you for your young wisdom today and encouraging us all to live the abundant life of following God! I love again that as we study forgiveness 2 weeks together as a body and we see forgiveness extended in Genesis 50 as well. This time to the point of Joseph crying over the sadness of knowing that he and the Lord has completely forgiven his brothers. It makes me wonder, when I forgive someone do they know they are fully forgiven by the Lord? It is a great opportunity to remind someone of the Gospel, when we forgive.

Hugh Stephenson about 1 year ago

I am taught that the message in Genesis is that God is faithful and just so I should trust and obey.

Yet, mainly I identify with Jacob. It took him a long time of walking his own path before he realized how hard he was making his life. I see the turning point in wrestling with the pre-incarnate Jesus at Jabbok; crippled in struggle, he surrenders. This is the main point of my identification with him.

I see the key for Joseph is having a deep and abiding faith in God. Joseph represents how my belief should drive me to act as a fully committed follower. If I pair his loyal faith with Paul’s exhortations in Romans 12-16 I think I have a good model. If I am not energized at this prospect, then I do not have a workable understanding of the goodness, kindness and mercy of God.

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