Gen 45:4-11 NASB "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. Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. 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. . ."
These are the thoughts that Beth provoked in us following this scripture:
- Joseph framed the entire picture in the sovereignity of God. It was their only hope of healing.
- Feelings of distress and anger towards others sometimes can't rival those we have towards ourselves.
- Our great pain can mean someone else's deliverance, even someone who helped imprison us.
- If we refuse God's means of our deliverance, we could easily find ourselves destitute. It's a humbling deliverance to break our pride.
My thoughts. . .in the end God works all things together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). . .even when we are the one who cause the imprisonment. That sometimes in God's mercy He causes things to happen to draw us to Him to prevent us from making bigger mistakes. . .we just don't see what "might have been". That sometimes our pain is for someone else's gain. That sometimes I must shut my eyes so I can cling to what I know about Him.
The song, "Blessings", by Laura Story has made me think. I pray for healing, blessing, safety, shelter, forgiveness, but (I don't know about you) I don't normally pray for trials. I am sure that Joseph did not pray to be enslaved and stolen from his father for years at the hands of his brothers. And, he didn't know for a LONG time what God was doing. He didn't get to see the bigger picture of preparation for the exodus and God's bigger plan for the Jewish people. Sometimes, we never see His plan. I think this most excites me about heaven. . .seeing how God's hand swept over us to protect us from ourselves. . .to see our trials in a new "light". And, most of all, I will see how my trials were not just about me. That his plan is bigger than my "here and now", it's about His plan to bring all to Him. I can't wait to see through His eyes! And, as the song "Blessings" says, "What if the rain, the storms, the hardest nights are His mercies in disguise?" Although a cloudy day makes it difficult to see the sun, it's still there. . .it never goes away!
And so Joseph said to his brothers, "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 50:20)