#DailyDevotion You Meant It For Evil But God Used It For Good
Gen 45:3-8 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. (4) So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. (5) And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. (6) For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. (7) And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. (8) So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.
Well that was unexpected. Joseph’s brothers instead of killing him when he was teen sold him into slavery. Now many years later Joseph is running Egypt second only the Pharaoh. These evil brothers now stand before looking for help to save their families. Joseph had already treated them roughly to see how they would react and if they regretted what they had done to him. Now Joseph reveals himself. You can guess the horror they experienced. Their little brother, who had heard them plotting against him to kill him but instead sold him into slavery far from the comfort of his father and family can decide their fate.
Lucky for them Joseph is a godly man and wise and can perceive all that the Lord had worked through him to bring him and them to this state. Joseph says something that probably drives a lot of people crazy, “And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” You know if you just wanted to save the line of Jacob couldn’t God had arraigned for Joseph to be second to Pharaoh without all this suffering? Why didn’t God just prevent the famine? It seems there just could have been an easier way of doing this. But there is more to God’s plan than you can ever know. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and his ways higher than our ways.
What you should take away from this is God has a plan. Evil men with evil purposes cannot thwart his plans. The Lord here intends Jacob to be blessed and to be blessed through the Egyptians who do not believe in him. He intends to show his glory to the Egyptians who reject him as God and worship idols instead. He also intends to preserve the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to bring about the holy, blessed seed through whom all nations would be blessed, namely Jesus.
So the Lord brings Joseph to Egypt and arranges to have him as head of Egypt to provide for his family and have them prosper there. God used evil men, Joseph’s brothers, to send Joseph to Egypt to preserve the remnant and provide for the survivors of the famine. He comforts his dismayed brothers letting them know it was the Lord who had done this.
Where does this leave us? Remembering this promise from Paul, Rom 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” We may not understand why the Lord is letting us suffer at times who have faith in Jesus. We think if God is on our side then everything should go well for us. But last Sunday Jesus told us we are blessed if we are poor, hungry, weeping and persecuted for his name sake. He promised us a cross in this life. We, like Joseph’s brothers, don’t always understand or see God’s greater plan working through our suffering and pain, particularly at the hands of evil people. But we can be certain of God’s promise. Those who are called according to God’s purpose, everything that happens to them will work for good, just like Joseph and his family.
Merciful, all wise Father in heaven, we do not always understand what you are doing in our lives, particularly when you allow evil things to happen to us and those we love. Grant us greater faith to trust your promise and to await your good pleasure in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.