Parashat Vayechi- (And He- Jacob lived…)


Parashat Vayechi- (And He- Jacob lived…) Gen.47:28-50:26
Prophet Reading: I Kings 2:1-12
Shabbat Khazak

From the life of Joseph one can learn a great deal about spirituality. One of the signs of Joseph’s spiritual maturity was his ability to forgive. Another part of spiritual growth is being able to accept forgiveness. What does it mean to accept forgiveness? It means to do as Shaul instructs in Philippians 3:13,

“…but this one thing I do, forgetting those which are behind…”

Even though Joseph forgave his brothers, they could not put this chapter behind them. They kept thinking about it and worrying that maybe Joseph had not really forgiven them and after Jacob their father was dead that he would seek revenge for their sin against him. Therefore after the family returned from Israel after burying Jacob in Hebron they said to Joseph that their father had instructed them to tell him that he must forgive them (see Gen. 50:17). This was of course a lie as Jacob had not given any such orders.

Here is the point: when we fail to accept forgiveness or refuse to forgive ourselves it will lead to additional sin in our life. Joseph had totally forgiven them and had put this ordeal out of his mind. In a similar manner G-d, by means of the redemption of Yeshua, has totally forgiven you and me of all our sins. However if we doubt His love and forgiveness, what we are really saying is that the fact that You O G-d sent Your Son in the world to die in my place is not good enough. I do not think through His sacrifice that you really did forgive me. His suffering and faithfulness was not enough to atone for my sin.

Such words are offensive to G-d. They also make light of the work of Yeshua upon the tree. Be aware that one’s inability to forgive oneself is rooted in pride. Pride is of course when people put themselves above others. Is not that what the brothers were doing? They were worrying about what might happen to them.

Joseph assured them that he had indeed forgiven them and said,

“…Fear not for I am under G-d.” Gen. 50:19

It is important to note the words with Joseph said, “Fear not”. This expression in Hebrew points out an improper prioritizing. They were making themselves the top priority instead of G-d. This is why Joseph said in the same verse, “I am under G-d.”

He was teaching them that when one is under G-d; that is, surrendered to Him, this person thinks properly. What if you’re not thinking about the right things? If it seems that you cannot forgive yourself? Then maybe you have a surrender problem with G-d. Realize that one of the greatest obstacles to overcome is pride.

The name of this week’s Torah portion is “and he lived”. Why not turn over your life to G-d right now and begin to experience the true life that He sent His Son into this world so you could experience.

Shabbat Shalom.

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