God meant it for good
After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said. So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said. But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:14-20
From the text, the main lesson of Joseph’s life was what he said in v. 20: “God intended it all for good.” So much heartache, frustration, and wrong dots the timeline of Joseph’s 110 years. But in all of this, “God meant it for good.” This is what Joseph was specifically reminding his brothers after Jacob died. They thought that Joseph will be avenging the cruelty he suffered from his brothers. Yet, instead, he told them that “God meant it for good in order to … preserve many people alive” through the seven years of famine. Think through the chain of events that Joseph was summarizing in that verse, and think how they worked out for good. Joseph’s whole life is one long trail of evidence that demonstrates how God uses the worst of circumstances to turn our lives into something useful and profitable! And the profit of Joseph’s suffering continues down to this very day! As believers in Jesus, we benefit from the fact that Joseph’s suffering kept the family tree of the Savior alive! “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28)! The practical applications of this discovery are many. We learn that, even when others are harming us, we can forgive, as Joseph did! We learn that God is in control, and can be trusted even in the darkest hours. The ability to cope with hardship is tied up in believing that God is in control. And we learn not to judge our circumstances too quickly! How much more spiritually healthy we would be if we could get Joseph’s epitaph, “GOD MEANT IT FOR GOOD,” engraved onto our hearts! So much of the Christian life is wrapped up in believing this truth!
Noel De Guzman