I don’t know about you, but I love the story of Joseph. It has all of the elements of a modern day box-office hit…desire, deception, disaster…not to mention a handsome leading man. But the story of Joseph is so much more than these things. At its heart, the story of Joseph is about trust.
If we were to list all of the things that happened to Joseph from age 17 to 30, we might expect him to be a bitter, angry man. Joseph had been hated, sold into slavery, wrongfully accused, jailed, and forgotten. Can’t you imagine someone in this position plotting revenge against the people who set off this chain of events? In our world today, we often expect (or even accept) evil being repaid with evil.
Yet, as we get into this week’s reading, we discover that Joseph wasn’t the type to do the expected. In Genesis 45, when his brothers come to Egypt looking for food in a time of severe famine, Joseph surprises us all. When he finally reveals himself to his (understandably dismayed) brothers, who had sold him into slavery 22 years earlier, he says this:
And now do not be distressed 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 yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. (Genesis 45:5-8 ESV)
The forgiveness that Joseph extended to his brothers seems extravagant … unlikely … undeserved. But as we read his words, it becomes clear what made it possible. As we have seen throughout Joseph’s story so far, regardless of his circumstances, he was devoted to the Lord, and God was with him. Joseph trusted in the God of his fathers. Because of this, Joseph could see God’s hand at work. He understood that God had put him in that place, under those circumstances, “for such a time as this.” He realized that God had used his brothers’ evil intentions for good.
Romans 8:28 tells us that “for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Ladies, this truly gives me abounding hope. It’s so good to know that God causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love Him.
Do you have a story to tell? Maybe you have found yourself in a foreign land, like Joseph did. Perhaps you have endured a season of trial. Have you been able to look back, like Joseph, and see God’s hand at work? Has He given you a glimpse of how He used your position in that place of hardship to provide for someone else? Let’s share our hope with each other in the comments!
Anyone is welcome to join in this 13 week study of hope! Just grab your copy of Abounding Hope (available as a PDF download or on Kindle) and join us back here on the blog every Monday! View the rest of the Abounding Hope series here.