Forgetful and Fruitful
We all love our siblings, right? However, no matter how much you love each other, siblings have a way of pushing your buttons. They do or say the right thing at the right time and it just makes you mad. Which typically leads to a fight. (I never did this, I was a perfect child) But have you ever been so upset with your brother or sister that you literally named your kid “God has made me forget all of my troubles and everyone in my father’s family”. This is where we find Joseph in Genesis 41. If you are unfamiliar with the story of Joseph I encourage you to read about him in Genesis. Here is the cliff notes version…
Joseph has 11 brothers. They are jealous of him because he is very obviously dad’s favorite child. Joseph has some dreams that tell of a future where his brothers would bow down to him one day. Brothers get mad, and throw him in a well with plans to kill him later. They decide to sell him and he ends up as a slave in Egypt. Joseph is falsely accused of a crime and spent several years in prison. While in prison, He correctly predicts the dreams of some of the prisoners. He is forgotten about until Pharaoh needs a dream interpreter. He interprets the dreams of Pharaoh and is made the ruler of all Egypt. He is given a wife and has 2 sons named the older one Manasseh, for he said, “God has made me forget all my troubles and everyone in my father’s family.” and his second son Ephraim, for he said, “God has made me fruitful in this land of my grief.” (Genesis 41:50-52) Later in the story Joseph’s vision about his brothers came true and he is able to save his entire family from a famine.
I have read, heard, and watched this story many, many times. The amazing thing about God’s word is you can read a passage hundreds of times and still learn something new each time. I was reading this story the other day, and the names of Joseph’s sons really stood out to me. In fact it kind of made me laugh that Joseph named his kid Manasseh because he was able to forget about his family. Then I read his brother’s name. Ephraim, which means fruitful. Then it hit me, Joseph named his kids forget and fruitful to serve as a reminder of what God was doing in his life.
The memory of Joseph’s family wasn’t erased from his mind like the neutralizer in Men In Black. Rather he came to the point in his spiritual life where the past actions of his brothers did not affect how he saw them, and how he thought of himself. Because of that decision that he made his life became fruitful. Joseph had to learn how to Forget in order to become Fruitful. He had to forget the hurt and pain from his past in order to move on, and become the man that God has called him to be. Imagine if Joseph had not learned to forget. Imagine if his brothers came begging for food, and because he held on to that anger he turned them away. What would have happened? Keep in mind it wouldn’t have been just his brothers who suffered. But their wives, children, servants, his father. That could have been the end of the line of Israel. God had a plan and Joseph, and Joseph was willing to allow God to work in his heart. This led to him saving not only Egypt, but his family, the nation of Israel.
My question for you is, What do you need to forget? What sort of things in your past are keeping you from moving forward in your walk with the Lord? God has a plan for you that will lead to a fruitful life. (John 15:16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.) It is a life that will lead you and others to eternity with Him. Satan wants to distract you. His goal is to drag you down and destroy you. (1 Peter 5:8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.) Keeping you focused on the things of the past, keeps you from growing, from moving forward in your walk with God. We need to learn to forgive. Forgive others, forgive ourselves, and allow ourselves to be forgiven. That is really what it means to forget. I am not saying don’t learn from what has happened, rather do not allow those things to keep you from moving forward in your relationship with God. Because you might be holding yourself back from something amazing.
Philippians 3:12-14 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
What do you need to Forget in order for God to come into your life and make you Fruitful?