But God Meant it for Good…
As we come to the close of our reading in Genesis, I was struck by the power of these words in Genesis 50:20, … “but God meant it for good.“
It is not easy to see the good when things are tough, especially when things just seem unfair, but Joseph did. Joseph kept his eyes on God, his redeemer. Joseph believed in the promises of God, even through the evil storms he would face.
After plotting to kill him, his brothers instead find it more profitable to sell him into slavery. Joseph is taken to Egypt, the lowest of slaves. Yet through his integrity, faithfulness and hard work Joseph rises up the ranks. He is falsely accused by his benefactor’s wife and sent to prison.
While in prison, Joseph befriends the Pharaoh’s cupbearer and after two more years, he is brought in front of Pharaoh and again through his integrity, faithfulness and hard work, and the sovereign grace of God, rises to the rank of Prime Minister.
How did Joseph survive? He kept his eyes on God. Joseph knew God. He knew that God is sovereign and God is good. Joseph always gave the glory to God. It was God who interpreted the dreams, not Joseph.
Joseph will eventually be re-united with his family, and live to enjoy his great grandbabies.
One thing we might overlook in this story of how God works is the pressure of the culture that surrounded Joseph. Joseph would have been about 17 when he came to Egypt. Joseph lived to be 110. That means Joseph spent 93 years in Egypt in a hostile spiritual environment.
He was second only to Pharaoh. Pharaoh was considered to be a god by his own people. Joseph must have been under intense and continuing pressure to conform to Egypt’s customs. Under similar circumstances, many would have capitulated. Yet Joseph remained a man of faith. He believed in a future hope – when his redeemer would come and save His people. Even on his deathbed Joseph knew God would restore his people and move them into the land of Canaan, as described in Genesis 50:23-24.
Joseph could look back on his life, the stormy times, times of hardship and loneliness and say… “but God meant it for good.”
And Joseph would look forward to a future hope with joy. As should all of us as we pray – “Thy kingdom come”…