As today is the last day of my trip in California, our family is just taking it easy. So I’m sitting with them as I start drafting handouts for this Old Testament class that I’ll be teaching in the church in fall. I’m working on Genesis. The last few chapters of Genesis is on Joseph. And I start reading/reviewing the material as I’m outlining my handouts.
Oddly enough, this morning, the verse that is sent to my inbox (I subscribe from ChristNotes to deliver a verse everyday to my inbox) was the verse spoken by Joseph to his brothers. But that was only faintly in the back of my mind.
As I’m going through the life of Joseph and how he suffered, yet God protected and blessed him greatly throughout the whole time, and even used the suffering to bless the very brothers that sold him, my heart started to stir.
I’m reading how this poor boy, a mere teenager, gets sold into slavery by his own brothers to Egypt. He is faithful and smart and gets promoted as the chief slave in a wealthy household. But then he gets framed for sexual assault and gets thrown in jail. He interprets someone’s dream and asks them to remember him when they get out. But once they get out, they completely forget about him. Until 2 years later, a desperate situation that begs for Joseph to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. After that, he becomes second-in-command under Pharaoh and is put in charge over the whole land of Egypt. And years later, his brothers are starving due to a famine and come to Egypt to ask for food, from none other than Joseph himself.
I’m reading through this, and thinking, how did Joseph still have hope? How was he not bitter? How was he not just against his brothers when they came to him? (Though he did kind of play with them a bit, taking one hostage, then sending them back and forth, and slipping a silver cup and framing them, etc…)
But something that I admire is that in the end, when the brothers begged for mercy, Joseph says:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
I’m so amazed. Because these brothers literally screwed up his whole life. Joseph had a father that loved him dearly. But at such a young age, he lived as though an orphan and in a foreign land, running into selfish and wicked people. Yet God blesses him, in a drastic, crazily prosperous way. But all this came upon during extreme suffering.
Am I able to say the same? Am I able to have the same amount of trust and confidence in my God? to loudly declare: You intended harm, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done.
Even when I hear slanderous comments from him, even when I see him start dating many new girls, even when I see the posting of various pictures and comments… God, please, please, PLEASE give me the strength and faith to be able to see You in all this. That even if he did intend harm on me, my God, You have a plan in mind and You are my protector, and You intended it for good and for it to accomplish what needs to be done in the future, or even right now.
You are greater than all things, all men, and all things by any man.
I’m about to go teach at a Christian Youth’s Conference. And he will also be there, helping with the music team. Maybe this is God’s way of prepping me, my flight is tonight, and I get in tomorrow and go directly to the conference site.
Pray for me.