Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

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”…


Jim

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

As we transition from the life of Jacob to Joseph – I thought a few implications might be helpful to some of you.

One implication to this story involves the consequence of sin. The sin of deceit. Jacob deceived his father Isaac back in Genesis 27 with the skin of a goat.  Now, he is himself deceived by his sons with the blood of a goat. Although Joseph is alive, Jacob will suffer the loss of a child and the pain and grief that goes with it.

Also, remember Rebekah would not see her son Jacob again.  She would die before his return.  The deceit she “cooked” up with her son would cost her dearly as well.

As the story of Joseph unfolds much like the story of Job, we are reminded that the apparent hiddenness of God does not mean He is absent or uncaring. Our “Big” God is in control even when we cannot see it.

The promised Messiah will come through the line of Jacob, the nation of Israel.  God is moving His people to Egypt and the story of Joseph helps us to see how they get there. In the book of Exodus, coming soon, we will fast-forward 400 years, to witness their exodus from Egypt.

Another observation and implication some may not see is the reference to Dothan. Joseph is betrayed by his brothers at Dothan and sold into slavery. Hundreds of years later, in Dothan, a story unfolds of our mighty and “Big” God at work.

Often times our fears and anxiety are the result of spiritual blindness – we just do not see God’s hand.  In 2 Kings 6, (read it and we will give you extra credit) we read the great story of Elisha and the famous chariots of fire.  The servant of Elisha awakens one morning and sees the mighty Syrian Army surrounding the city.  They have come to capture Elisha. His servant, like many of us at times, does not see the mighty hand of God at work.

He cries out to Elisha, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”

He does not see with his physical eyes what Elisha sees – the invisible world, God’s mighty hand – horses with chariots of fire.  It is only after Elisha prays that the servant can see them.

Hmmm…  only after prayer…

Until next time – keep reading…


Jim