“And Joseph said unto them, ‘Fear not—for am I in the place of God? But, as for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now, therefore, fear you not; I will nourish you and your little ones.’ And he comforted them and spoke kindly unto them.”
Although our part may not be as strategic as his was, it’s still important nevertheless, which behooves us to be faithful in all we do and say.
His name meant “May God add” and certainly described how his life would be. Outwardly, it seemed it described the multiple sufferings he endured: Family animosity. . .false accusation… a forgetful associate. But, by the end of his life he realized the Lord God was simply using each experience to move him closer to his final position in Pharaoh’s palace to insure His promises to Abraham would be fulfilled.
Examined individually—his being sold by his brothers (Gen. 37:18-36), falsely accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife (39:1-23) and forgotten and left in prison a “full, two years” by Pharaoh’s butler (40:1-41:1a)—these separate painful events in Joseph life seem like “cruel and unusual punishment.” But, when joined together as a whole in a sequential way, they served as God’s stepping stones to place him where he needed to be when the seven-year famine hit.
Now, again, when he was going through them, no doubt Joseph wondered why all of this was happening to him. He knew he was born into a dysfunctional family, where his mother (Rachel) and her sister (Leah) were jealous of each other (Gen. 29:16-30:1). Likewise, his 10 half-brothers despised him—partly because of their father’s favoritism of him (37:4), partly because of his snitching on them (37:2c) and partly because of his outlandish visions that showed them as subservient to him (37:5-11).
Even so, Joseph continued to cling to the fact that “God was with him” wherever he was—whether it be the pit, the prison or the palace (Gen. 39:2, 21, 23). And, it was this assurance of His Presence that helped him to “prosper (Heb. ‘tsalach’—‘to push forward, excel, overcome, be profitable, etc.’) in whatever he did” (vv.2-5, 21-23).
Later on, after ascending to second-in-command in Pharaoh’s court, the pieces of his life’s jigsaw puzzle began to fall into place (Gen. 42:7-9a). When he finally revealed his true identity to his brothers (with many tears), he tried to help them understand God even used their dastardly deeds for His eternal purpose (45:1-8). And, some years later after their father died, Joseph shared today’s Manna with them (with tears once again), reassuring them that he would not retaliate against them for their evil acts some 20-22 years before because it was all a part of God’s Plan.
Oh, dear Pilgrim, have you allowed some past event in your life—your background, a sinful act, others’ unloving words or deeds against you, etc.—to embitter you or blind you to God’s plan for your life? Has bitterness robbed you of His blessings and grumbling replaced gratitude? Stop right now and thank Him for EVERYTHING and EVERYONE in your life; then rest in the assurance that He is using it/them all for your good and His Glory (Rom. 8:28).
By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated August 23, 2009