Having been sold into slavery by his brothers, Joseph has ended up in prison under false accusations. There he remains overlooked until he interprets a dream for Pharoah and rises to power to oversee the collection and distribution of grain in the famine that is to beset the region.
The famine also hits Joseph’s homeland of Canaan and Joseph’s brothers travel to Egypt in search of grain. There they fail to recognise Joseph.
Bible Reading: Genesis 45:3-8, 50:20
Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph! Is my father still living?"
But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.
Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Come close to me."
When they had done so, he said, "I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt!
And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here,
because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.
For two years now there has been famine in the land,
and for the next five years there will be no ploughing and reaping.
But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth
and to save your lives by a great deliverance. "
So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.
He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt.
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
It isn’t easy to detect God’s hand of blessing when things don’t go well. Redundancy, injustice, illness and the loss of loved ones can cause us all to question the goodness of God.
I don’t think it would have been easy for Joseph to see himself as blessed by God. He had been sold into slavery by his brothers and sold on again to Potiphar, an Egyptian official whom he has served faithfully and honourably. He is then falsely accused of rape by Potiphar’s frustrated and spurned wife and sent to prison without trial. Now, after many years of struggle, the tables are turned; Joseph is in a position of power and his brothers are begging for food.
Instead of gloating over the situation or of seeking revenge, Joseph blesses his brothers and later provides a home for them, their families, and for Jacob their ageing father. After years of reflection he can see the hand of God as he is able to provide for the descendants of Abraham and secure the promise that was made to Abraham many years before.
Have you been in situations where you feel you have been unfairly treated? Can you look back on those times and see the grace of God at work?
Could you say with Joseph, ‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good’ and go on to bless those who have hurt you?
Thank you, Father, that you are always working for good in my life, even when situations are hard.
Give me the eyes to see your hand at work and the grace to bless others.
God is good all the time