Read Genesis 45:1-8; 50:15-21
The Providence of God
Joseph, over time, recognized God’s hand working in his life. He may not have always understood it as the events of life often seemed to be working against him. Sold into slavery as a teenager. Falsely accused and imprisoned. Forgotten by the chief baker for two years. Yet, in time, God lifted Joseph up because he remained humble and committed to the one true God of heaven.
His brothers were “dismayed in his presence” when he first revealed his true identity to them (Genesis 45:3). Seventeen years later, after their father Jacob died, Joseph’s brothers were still dismayed. “When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, ‘Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him’” (Genesis 50:15).
Their fear upset Joseph, who had shown them kindness over the past seventeen years. “And Joseph wept when they spoke to him” (Genesis 50:17). He did not act as a tyrant or a vengeful ruler. Even though he was grieved by their words, still “he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:21). Why? Because he knew that God had used all the events of his life for the betterment of the world.
We often struggle to see the good in our difficulties. Perhaps God is preparing us to help someone else through the same troubles later in life. Perhaps God is placing people in our lives who need comfort and kindness. If we don’t accept those challenges to help, who will?
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Keep in mind two very important things about this verse. First, it does not say that all things are good, but rather all things (including bad things) work together for good. Second, this is not a universal truth for everyone. It is for “those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
God grants the opportunity for salvation, for being among “the called,” to everyone. Do you love God? Do you keep His commandments? Read John 14:15 and 1 John 5:3. If you try to find loopholes to avoid obedience, then do you really love God? Do what you need to do to be right in His sight. Believe in the Christ, repent of your sins, confess your belief, and be baptized to have your sins washed away.