Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come closer to me.” And they came closer. And he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt …. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt …. As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. Genesis 45:4-8; 50:20
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
The Old Testament story of Joseph is an amazing story. It is a lengthy story that runs from Genesis 37 through Genesis 48 (excluding chapter 38) and is well worth reading to gain a fuller grasp of God’s pattern for all of our lives – that of bringing “victory in suffering.” To review, Joseph at the young age of 17 was given a glimpse of God’s call on his life through a couple of dreams. This call on his life plus the love and preference his father had for him over his brothers led to his suffering. Today’s Scripture brings us to a spot in Joseph’s life that is long after his suffering. Because of how long a time had passed and because his brothers did not think he had survived his suffering, Joseph had to reveal himself to his brothers.
In today’s passage Joseph says, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.” The event of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers was the centerpiece of the suffering he experienced (be sure to read the whole story sometime). “The Joseph” his brothers sold into Egypt had become “the Joseph” God made “ruler over all the land of Egypt.” Joseph, who transitioned from a season of suffering to a season of victory, can say freely and fully to his brothers: “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance;” “It was not you who sent me here;” “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result.”
Joseph, with his story, provides such a wonderful model for us in our lives when we are in a season of suffering. We, too, can take our sights off the people and circumstances we associate with our suffering (for Joseph – his brothers) and put them on God. Try it out by saying within your own mind and heart, “you (people or circumstances) did not put me in this place of suffering, God did.” Now, this exercise is not meant to be a means of shifting blame. It is an awareness of God’s call on our lives that makes the words, “God put me in this place of suffering,” words of faith and not words of blame. The words, “God put me in this place of suffering” are truly words of faith because we know God is working through our suffering to accomplish his purposes and to fulfill the calling he has for our lives.
When your suffering seems like nothing more than “evil against you,” dwell on this instead, “God means it for good in order to bring about the results he has in mind.” There will always be Divine results that God will bring about through our suffering while we here on earth, but there may be some of them that are not fully realized until glory. Whether we see the fullness of victory in our suffering in this life or not, we can trust God fully and live for him fully even in the middle of seasons of suffering.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, I believe that when all is said and done you will accomplish your purposes for me; I believe you love me forever; and I believe you will never forsake me, the work of your hands (Psalm 138:8). Help me to rest in you and these realities today, right where am, in the midst of a season of suffering. May I long for you more than deliverance from suffering and the realization of victory. Be more real to me today than troubles and sufferings of my life. Amen!
Posted on Mon, May 30, 2016
by Alan Porter