Yesterday I shared how God worked over the course of time. This morning I am remembering the life of Joseph ….
Joseph, the son of Jacob, born to him in his old age. He was a favorite son because he was the first son born to Jacob’s wife, Rachel. Jacob gives Joseph a beautiful robe, also known as “the coat of many colors” demonstrating his intent to one day give him a larger portion of the inheritance than the other sons. The reaction of his brothers?
Exactly what one would expect … jealousy and hatred. So they rid themselves of their brother by selling him to traders. It is estimated Joseph was seventeen years old at this time.
Through a series of events, including jail and dreams, in time Joseph is promoted into power by the Pharaoh of Egypt. He is second in command, basically the manager of Egypt with all the people taking commands from him. We are told he is now thirty years old (Genesis 41:46).
A famine hits the land and the word had spread there was grain available in Egypt. So Jacob sends his sons to Egypt in search of grain to keep them all alive. As they stand before him making their request for grain, Joseph recognizes his brothers immediately. But they do not recognize him. Through a series of events, Joseph finally reveals himself to his brothers, has them return home for the rest of their family and for their father. They return to Joseph to be provided for through the remainder of their lives. Joseph was thirty nine when he was reunited with his brothers.
Each of these events were moments in time. Isolated and individually, each event probably would not have had much significance but strung together, they reveal the manner in which God works in and through our lives.
Joseph could have felt life was unfair as he was sold into slavery, for surely it was unfair in that very moment.
And Joseph could have felt forgotten by God as he was thrown into prison to work there in the darkness.
And Joseph certainly could have felt justified to get revenge on his brothers as they came humbly before him, unknowingly, to ask for grain.
For years life had been harsh and unpleasant and unfair and lonely and dark.
But God had been at work in Joseph and in the circumstances and Joseph recognized His work:
“It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives.”
(Genesis 45: 5, NLT)
“God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors.” (verse 7)
“So it was God who sent me here, not you!” (verse 8a)
“And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh.” (verse 8b)
Joseph recognized God was the One who had been orchestrating the events of his life, for years. He knew all which had occurred, while his life seemed completely out of control, had truly been in the control of a God who controls everything.
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.” (Genesis 50:20, NLT)