But Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Genesis 50:19-20 (NIV)
Read: Genesis 50:1-26
Consider: Joseph lived through very difficult times. He was part of a dysfunctional family, the eleventh of twelve brothers, who were prepared to consider killing him, but relented and sold him into slavery. While in Egypt Joseph was accused of trying to seduce his master’s wife and was put into prison for an extended time. Can you imagine how Joseph must have felt as this played out in his life? He probably thought, ‘Why me? Why has this happened to me?’ Would you have blamed him if he had felt aggrieved by the actions of his brothers?
After several years in prison, it was Joseph’s ability to interpret dreams that finally brought him to the attention of Pharaoh, who raised him to a position of prominence in the country. Joseph was given a position of authority, where he would ultimately be able to provide food for the Egyptians and adjoining nations during a time of extreme famine.
It is important to notice in the story of Joseph that he never forgot his family, nor did he forget what his brothers had done to him. The brothers hadn’t forgotten what they did either: this is evident from Genesis 45:3 where we are told that when Joseph made himself known to them, the brothers were terrified. They expected Joseph to seek revenge for what they had done. This should give us insight into the topic of forgiveness. While Joseph remembered what his brothers had done, he was prepared to forgive them. When we forgive someone for a wrong done to us, God is not asking us to forget the wrong, but to forgive the person despite the wrong.
A few days, ago when considering the life of Job, we noticed that often bad things happen to good people. It is exactly the same with Joseph. His life was not easy and it took many twists and turns that I’m sure he would have preferred hadn’t happened. Yet with the benefit of hindsight he could say to his brothers: You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (50:20).
Are you a ‘Why me?’ person? If you are, then you should perhaps be asking yourself ‘Why not?’. God can use all your circumstances, good and bad, to accomplish his plans. This is what Paul says in his letter to the believers in Rome: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
Of course it is never easy going through difficult times. If you are going through difficulties, by all means ask God to deliver you from them, but also be prepared to let God use your circumstances in whatever way he chooses to being glory to himself.
Pray: Father, we thank you for the example of Joseph, who was able to see your hand at work in his life, even when his brothers sought to harm him. May we be at peace when facing difficulties, trusting you for the outcome. Amen