God Can Redeem Anything
- Monday, June 25, 2012
“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).
God is faithful. He can use all circumstances for His glory. Let’s take a brief look at the life of Joseph (Genesis 37–50). Joseph was a man of integrity who did right in the eyes of the Lord, yet he faced hardship, betrayal, and temptation. As a young man, he was less than humble a few times with his ten older brothers. Okay. Straight up, he actually came across as a puffed up little braggart. His bragging fed the jealously of Joseph’s brothers because he was clearly their father’s favorite child. Now granted, Joseph threw gasoline on the fire of this jealousy when he bragged about the dreams God had given him, and may have deserved a good smack upside his head for being so insensitive, but imagine how he must have felt to be thrown into a cistern and sold into slavery by his very own brothers! It chills me to the bone. Through it all, however, “the Lord was with Joseph and he prospered” (Genesis 39:2).
He found favor in the eyes of Potiphar, an official of Pharaoh in Egypt, and gained great position, privilege, and prestige. Not so bad for a guy who had been sold into slavery, huh? God was surely with him through it all. Joseph was trusted and placed over all that Potiphar owned.
His circumstances had taken quite a turn for the better … until our man Joseph was wronged again … this time by Potiphar’s lying, lustful wife. Although he nobly resisted her sexual advances, Joseph was imprisoned when she falsely accused him of attempted rape. In the darkness of a dungeon, Joseph again experienced the lavish light of God’s faithfulness as he was granted, “favor in the eyes of the prison warden” (Genesis 39:21). He quickly rose to a position of power and responsibility amongst his prisoner peers and was trusted by the warden.
While imprisoned, Joseph met a cupbearer and a baker who had been in Pharaoh’s service, and when each of these two men had a disturbing dream the same night, God allowed Joseph to interpret their dreams. Joseph told the cupbearer that in three days he would be freed from prison and restored to his position in Pharoah’s court (the interpretation wasn’t quite so favorable for the baker). Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him to Pharaoh, but on the third day, at Pharaoh’s birthday feast, the cupbearer was reinstated and Joseph was forgotten. How frustrating would that be?
Two years later, while Joseph was still in the dungeon for doing the right thing, Pharaoh had two dreams that troubled him greatly. “So he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him” (Genesis 41:8b). Finally, the cupbearer remembered Joseph and told Pharaoh of his ability to interpret dreams. Pharaoh sent for Joseph, who—with God’s enabling—interpreted the dreams, and Pharaoh rewarded Joseph by placing him in charge of his palace and his people.
After Joseph was placed in charge of Egypt, he worked with integrity and fervor. He collected and stored all the excess food from the land in preparation for the famine that God had revealed, through Pharaoh’s dream, would come. There were seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine. The years of famine were severe, and during the famine, Joseph sold grain to both the Egyptians and to people of other lands.
Ultimately, the famine brought Joseph’s brothers and father from the land of Canaan to Egypt for a God-reunion and restoration that only our amazing El-Shaddai could have arranged. In spite of all the pain he endured at the hands of others, Joseph was able to exclaim to his brothers in kindness, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.”
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