When the Rug is Removed
Joseph Forgives His Brothers
Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, “What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?” So they approached Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this instruction before he died, ‘Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.’ Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, “We are here as your slaves.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.” In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.
Joseph’s Last Days and Death1
So Joseph remained in Egypt, he and his father’s household; and Joseph lived one hundred ten years. Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation; the children of Machir son of Manasseh were also born on Joseph’s knees.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die; but God will surely come to you, and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” So Joseph made the Israelites swear, saying, “When God comes to you, you shall carry up my bones from here.” And Joseph died, being one hundred ten years old; he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in Egypt.
The Yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees2
When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread. Jesus said to them, “Watch out, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They said to one another, “It is because we have brought no bread.” And becoming aware of it, Jesus said, “You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered? How could you fail to perceive that I was not speaking about bread? Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!” Then they understood that he had not told them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
Be careful about secrets. Jesus taught, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” The truth will come out eventually.
We use rugs for several different purposes, but one of them is as a cheap cover over a damaged floor. Whether it is wood floor underneath, or more carpet, a short rug can put things out of sight and out of mind. Over time, we can even forget that it is even there. The rug itself becomes part of the new vision of the floor we walk on.
But those rugs do not last forever. Whether someone comes and lifts it up in curiosity, or the time comes to move and the new owners are redoing the floor, the true floor will eventually see the light of day. What happens then?
Healing can begin. You cannot restore a floor while it is still under the rug. Joseph had spent the majority of his life covering up the past transgression of his brothers against him, choosing not to bring it up in front of his aging father. When his father died though, the rug came up, and his brothers were fearful of what he might do. The issue was laid bare and someone had to do something about it. It was then that Joseph was able to truly forgive them, and they in return, receive his forgiveness.
The issue that Jesus had with the Pharisees was often not their words or actions, it was the motives that lay underneath. What they taught sounded good, but the hidden yeast was permeating everything they did, tainting it, and in the end drawing people away from, rather than toward God. The common people and the disciples could not see beneath the surface, but Jesus could see everything clearly and challenged His disciples to be wise and discerning when their faith was challenged.
Everyone has a reason for the things they do. It may be good or bad, but there is some kind of motive underneath. Secrets come in many sizes, as do the rugs that cover them. Some are covered because of shame. Others because of fear. Some are covered out of love. Yet all of them share a connection of covering a spot of weakness that has not yet been healed and restored by God’s grace. There will come a day that everything will be uncovered though, and in that day we will finally experience the fullness of God’s grace and power in our life.
What secrets do you keep covered up?
What is your reason for covering them?
What secrets do you need to uncover in the light of God’s grace today?