February 21, 2017

Genesis 45:5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

Here we have another shining example of Joseph’s focus on God. Nine years of good fortune to this point had been enough to enable him to forgive his brothers and recognize God’s hand in all that he had been through. The thing is, God’s provision takes many forms. We delight in material provision but we may be slow to recognize some other forms of provision. God knows ahead of time all that is going to happen to us, so sometimes He puts us through training to toughen us up in preparation. Anyone who has never had to work and apply themselves to overcome a problem is going to be weak and helpless when bigger problems come. Luxury can at times be tragic, because we fail to recognize and appropriate what we really need, which is not material. Another lesson from this story is that God can and does use things that are bad and wrong in themselves to work good and blessing. It was certainly wrong of Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery, but God used even that for great blessing. We quote Romans 8:28 very glibly, but seldom really believe it! When our focus is fully on God, as Joseph’s was, we can look forward expectantly to what God is going to bring out of anything we experience, no matter how unpleasant it might be at the moment.

This is spot-on for me! I have learned this lesson to a degree, but I certainly have room to grow in applying it consistently. I try to share this truth with others, but there is always the risk that they will feel I am taking their troubles lightly. I’ve had people leave the church over this. I am to “weep with those who weep,” (Romans 12:15) but not without pointing them to the Lord who will wipe away every tear. (Revelation 7:19; 21:4) I am not to ignore reality, for myself or for anyone else, but I must never forget our Lord, who is more real than the entire physical universe. God can and does turn things around and make use of things in ways that we can’t imagine, even apart from what we call miracles. Joseph’s life story is a shining example, but it is not unique; God is still in the business of saving people in ways we couldn’t imagine ahead of time.

Father, thank You for this reminder. There are situations all around me to which this applies directly. Help me keep my own focus on You and help others to do likewise. Help us consistently expect good things of You, whatever guise they might take when they first appear. Help me trust You enough to hear You accurately and obey You fully, so that all of Your plans may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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