Vantage Point – Trusting God with our past

Joseph’s Family Problems:

  • Jacob’s favoritism to Rachel/Joseph led to family strife. Jacob learned this trait from his parents
    • Genesis 37:3
    • Colossians 3:21
  • His mother’s death giving birth to Benjamin – 35:16-20 (I wonder if Benjamin felt guilt over this?)
  • The brother’s envy turned to hatred and ended up selling Joseph into slavery and deceiving their father so he would believe Joseph was dead!
    • Hebrews 12:14-15
    • Ephesians 4:31
  • Rueben not finishing the job of taking care of the younger brother then playing along with the charade of Joseph’s death. – 37:18-35


Joseph’s personal problems stemming from this:

  • Pressure of being the favored son! – 37:4
  • Lost his life and made a slave! – 37:28-30
  • Lied about and put in prison! – 39:13-20
  • Told that he wouldn’t be forgotten, but was forgotten for another 2 years! – 40:23-41:1

Recap of Joseph’s life:

  • His mother died when he was young
  • He was 17 when sold into slavery (37:2)
  • He was 30 when made a ruler (41:46)
  • He was 37 when drought happened (41:54)
  • He was 39 when his brothers came (45:6)
  • Total = 22 years away from his family!


The Effect

  • On the brothers: Everyday that the brothers saw Jacob; they must have been overwhelmed with guilt! The brothers declare their guiltGen 42:21
  • On Jacob – He was devastated – Gen 37:34-35
  • On Joseph – He suffered, but it seems that he did not get bitter! When he saw his brothers 22 years after being sold, he wept! (42:24, 43:40, 45:2)
  • He did make the statement: “For indeed I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews: and here also have I done nothing that they should put me into the dungeon.” (40:15)

The Reality

  • Our past is filled with things that we have done that can cause guilt/regret (like Joseph’s brothers); or things that have been done to us that can lead us in a pattern of resentment and bitterness.
  • Are You Stuck in the Past? Do you have guilt or regret or bitterness for things that have happened in the past?
  • Read Hebrews 11

Looking from God’s Vantage Point and choosing the right way to process the past:


Understanding guilt:

  1. We are all guilty because of Adam
    1. Romans 3:10, 23, 5:12
  2. Our guilt/sin showed us that we need Christ
    1. Galatians 3:24 (law showed our need)
  3. Christ freed us from the grip of guilt
    1. Romans 6
  4. When we do sin, it grieves the Holy Spirit and causes remorse and guilt
    1. Ephesians 4:30

What to do with Guilt:

  1. Acknowledge it
    1. Proverbs 28:13
  2. Confess and repent
    1. 2 Corinthians 7:9-10
    2. Romans 2:4
  3. Confess to others if needed
    1. James 5:16
  4. If needed, make restitution
    1. Luke 15:11-32
    2. Luke 19:8

Understanding God’s Forgiveness:

  • God’s nature is to forgive!
    • Psalm 86:5
  • When God forgives, He forgives completely!
    • Psalm 103:10-12
  • We are no longer under the wrath of God
    • Romans 5:8-9
  • Cost Him much!
    • 1 Peter 1:17-19


Practicing Godly Forgiveness:

  • Forgiveness is an act of obedience to God
    • Colossians 3:13
  • Forgiveness gives the offender what he needs, not what he deserves
    • 1 Corinthians 13:10
  • Forgiveness is a promise not to keep a record of wrongs suffered
    • 1 Corinthians 13:4-13
  • Forgiveness means that we wont gossip about the offender
    • Ephesians 4:29
  • When we forgive, we will not dwell on the offense any longer. It is not forgetting, but it is choosing not to hold it against the person
    • Philippians 4:8


God’s Sovereignty with your past:

How does God see all the things that happen in our life?  After all that Joseph went through, he told his brothers God used their actions to “preserve life” (

Genesis 45:5).  At the end of his life, he said God used their evil for good to save many (Genesis 50:20