Meant for Good
But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
- Genesis 50:19-20
This is the punchline for the whole story of Joseph. And, in some ways, this is the punchline for Genesis, the Bible, and human history.
Joseph does two important things in today’s passage: he acknowledges his brothers’ intent and he points to God’s purposes.
Joseph doesn’t whitewash his brothers’ evil intent. They sold him into slavery. They wanted him tossed out of the country and the family. They wanted to harm him and hurt him. There’s no justification for their actions. And yet, they weren’t the only actors in Joseph’s story.
In the midst of Joseph’s brothers’ evil actions, God is also working. God used Joseph’s slavery to do the seemingly impossible. By the time Joseph was 30, he was the second-in-command governor of Egypt with the power to save many, many lives. But the path carried tremendous pain.
In this decisive moment, Joseph’s ability to show surprising mercy rests on his decision to focus on God’s activity over the activity of his brothers. He doesn’t excuse their evil behavior; he just chooses not to wrap his life around it.
Throughout your life you will encounter people who in moments of foolishness mean to do you harm. Don’t wrap your life around them. Don’t let them dictate your every action. Don’t make them your gods.
What would happen in our world if all God’s people were so focused on God’s activity in the world that we could forgive like Joseph, lead like Joseph, and dream like Joseph?
Try praying a prayer like this today:
Father, help me to see where you’re at work today.
Help me to wrap my life around you.
Help me …
to forgive those who have hurt me,
to lead in the places you send me, and
to dream with incredible boldness.
Set me free by your mercy. Amen.
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