At the beginning of Chapter 3 of The Story, we learn of the hostility between Joseph and his brothers. Tired of his arrogance, they devise a scheme to kill him and throw him into a cistern. While the oldest brother, Reuben, convinces him to spare his life, he is unable to save Joseph from being sold to the Ishmaelites and taken as a slave to Egypt.
Even if Joseph was a bratty brother, flaunting his dreams and his favored status with their father, the actions of his brothers are inexcusable. It is a betrayal and injustice, and we mourn with Joseph as he rebuilds his life in Egypt.
But at the end of the chapter, we gain a new perspective on the event. Joseph is reunited with his brothers, and they fall at his feet, begging for forgiveness. Not only does Joseph forgive them, but he tells his brothers that what they meant for harm, God intended for good. Despite the jealous and vindictive behavior of the brothers, God used Joseph’s circumstance to save the people of Egypt and the surrounding regions from famine.
The takeaway from this should not be that God causes the bad things in our life. We provide God with enough evil intentions of our own; he has no need to add to it. The point, rather, is that in every bad situation, God is at work with good intentions. There is no situation from which he is absent. He is constantly creating order from chaos and beauty from ashes. And he partners with his people to do so.
Last week, we meditated upon Abraham’s call to be a blessing. This week, we read as Joseph also fulfills this call. Joseph was abandoned and oppressed, but God delivered him and used him to bless the world. Even the shameful parts of his past are used for good, as he demonstrates forgiveness and love toward the ones who sought to kill him.
Though we may see nothing but the broken systems of the world crumbling around us, God is working with good intentions. Not only that, but we get to partner with God in his good intentions of setting all things right. We are his hands and feet on this earth, and we have great power to do good or to do harm. May we partner with God today, joining him in his good work of blessing the world
Rebecca Rich is married to the Discipleship Pastor, Tom Rich. She adores her two cocker spaniels and can often be found reading a book or asking questions. She blogs about life and faith at Buried Hopes.