In this week’s reading, we come across truly one of the greatest verses in all of Scripture:
Genesis 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
One hundred and ten years old. As we finished Genesis this week, we read that Joseph lived to be 110 years old. What a life he lived. If you think back to the happenings of his youth, the favor of his father, his dreams and that beautiful coat he was given, and then all that he went through and all that he accomplished and help provide, God was surely at work in Joseph all along the way.
Do you see this in your own life? God has been at work in you and your life much more than you have known how to give Him credit. Do you see Him in all the common graces to provide for you or protect you in hard times or crazy circumstances? What about how God has been at work even though you willingly sinned against Him and/or people sinned against you? God doesn’t do evil in our lives, but He surely uses willing men who do evil for His purposes. It is awesome to see how God worked in both the brothers of Joseph and in Joseph to bring about great good for them and the people in the land they were in.
Can you imagine the guilt the brothers carried with them for selling their brother into slavery? All those years and decades went by, and they never heard what became of their little brother. Many of us have done some terrible things and can relate to the guilt and shame they must have felt. To see God work in Joseph to forgive his brothers and to restore them is truly a remarkable thing. I have counseled many men and women over the years to help them prayerfully process dark things they did in their past. One of the things the gospel does for us is give us great hope, not only to forgive ourselves as the holy God has forgiven us, but to never stop praying for reconciliation and restoration to happen with those who have been hurt by our sin. We never know when in our lives, even decades later, God can restore and repair. Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. He is able--more than able.
What about Joseph? We have been talking about his journey of faithfulness through unbelievable setbacks and injustices. If there ever was someone who, in their flesh, was justified to give up on God through a lifetime of injustices, it was Joseph. But hopefully you see the folly of that statement as you read it. God is faithful, and His promises are true. God is at work in ALL things and using all things for His purposes and glory. To give up on God is to not understand who God is. Surely our faith will be challenged as it was with Joseph, but he endured and continued to trust in God. Although many of the seasons and even years of Joseph’s oppression seemed like a lifetime, he remained faithful to trust in God, and God used him in ways he could have never imagined. To be raised to second in command over Egypt, just under Pharaoh, and to be used by God to provide for so many people is truly the work of God and no other.
So, yes, evil men and women are working to do evil things in this life. But we never lose hope in God to restore and reconcile. We never stop believing that God can take the very worst of circumstances and use it for His holy purposes and our good.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Do you believe this? Do you trust in God not based on your circumstances but based on who He is?
I pray that I would remain steadfast in the midst of great loss and hardship, not because of who I am but based on who God is.
I pray that you would as well and that you see that God is on the throne and working in all things.