2017 Lenten Daily Devotionals
by Jonathan Haefs
Each day of the Lenten season, I will be emailing out a devotional to many of the members of SVCC. I will also be sharing these devos via blogging. Hopefully, I will post first thing each morning, but definitely by 12pm. The first devotional may be found below. These are designed to accompany the SVCC Lenten reading guide which may be found here: 2017 Lenten Reading Guide.
In these devotionals I will give a link that will take you to the entire reading for the day. I will also include a few of the verses upon which I will focus my reflections. In the reflection section I will make a few brief comments which I hope will spur your own thinking and prayers.
Lent is meant to be a season of repentance and fasting that prepares our hearts for the coming celebration of Easter (fuller explanation here). Repentance is a reminder that we need to be saved from our sin…we need a Savior. Fasting reminds us that we are not in need of the things this world offers, but in desperate need of Jesus. So the point of Lent is that we need Jesus…we need Easter. It is my prayer that these daily devotionals will simply help remind us daily of our need for Christ.
Genesis 45 (click here)
So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” (Genesis 45:4-5)
Have you ever been hurt? Have you ever been wronged? Have you ever been betrayed?
If you live long enough, the answer to all of these questions will eventually, inevitably be “yes.” We are all broken people, and when broken people live in close proximity to one another we should not be surprised that brokenness is multiplied.
Joseph experienced betrayal on a deeper level than most of us can even imagine. He was sold into slavery by his own brothers.
Through many difficult years in Egypt, he would eventually be used by God to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, and he would be providentially elevated to second in command as a famine struck the land. Through God-given wisdom, Joseph saved the people of Egypt from starvation… but not just Egypt.
In search of food, his own family ended up on his doorstep. What would he do?
Joseph forgave them.
Not even his brothers were able to understand his actions. Was he simply letting them off the hook? No. Genesis 45:4, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom YOU sold into Egypt.” He held them responsible for their evil actions, but he forgave them anyway… how?
Genesis 45:5, “And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because YOU sold me here, for GOD sent me before you to preserve life.”
Joseph has a rock-solid faith in the sovereignty of God which empowers his forgiveness! What a witness this must have been before the watching world as the community of God’s people were held together by the glue of supernatural forgiveness!
What about you… and me?
When we are betrayed by those closest to our heart… do we believe that God is sovereignly ruling, even over the evil we experience, to work it all according to the counsel of his will for our good and his glory… even when we can’t see it?
Unforgiveness is rooted in a lack of faith that God is sovereignly in control to work all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.
Unforgiveness gives those who wound us too much credit… for it acts as if they are in control and they have won.
That’s a lie.
God is in control and he always wins… look to the cross. Upon that tree Christ forgave his executioners for he knew, “No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
Christ’s eyes were set on the sovereign charge of his Father and his sovereign authority to carry it out. He knew the plan and the purpose. He knew that all the evil efforts of man would only serve the perfect plan of God!
When we are wronged, we have this confidence, that God reigns over all for his glory and our good! Such faith empowers supernatural forgiveness which acts as the glue that holds together the supernatural community of God’s people, the church… and when a watching world sees a people who forgive like that… well… those people look like the cross… they look like a cruciform community.
*All previous devotionals may be found at www.thejoyofglory.com
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.