Photos by JennyEBurr
Genesis 50: 20 NIV
"You intended to harm me but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
This morning driving into church a minister on the radio reminded the listeners of Joseph's words which I have quoted from the NIV Bible. It's not the first time that I have pondered Joseph's words to his brothers. I have thought about these words many times over the years.
The thing about getting older is you also hope (at least I do) to be getting wiser. Yet the wisdom in the words which Joseph spoke to his older brothers, and one younger brother, Benjamin goes beyond his years. It's a wisdom based on experience, hardship and submission.
Experience: He was sold by his brothers into slavery because of their jealousy and their hatred. He was falsely accused by his boss' wife. He was wrongly placed in prison. Joseph was forgotten after helping the cupbearer, until a couple of years later.
Yet despite all of these terrible experiences he didn't develop into a bitter, angry, resentful, vengence seeking man.
Hardship: To be separated from his family when he was a teen never to see them again until years later. He was taken away from a father that doted on him. He was an excellent worker yet still placed in prison because of a dishonest, adultress woman.
Prison life couldn't have been very pleasant, yet the captain of the guard left Joseph in charge.
Submission: Joseph submitted and accepted the circumstances in his life. When he tells his brothers that although they intended to harm him but God intended it for good he was being honest. By this time in his life and probably a few years before that he realized that God had a purpose for him in Egypt and that was to be second in command to Pharaoh so that lives could be saved during the famine.
Grace, obedience, forgiveness, and love are intertwined in Joseph's life. Plotting, planning to seek revenge and to make peoples' lives miserable who had wronged him, could have been his life's ambition, but it wasn't. He chose good, not evil. He chose God's way of life, not Satan's.
Can I say these words,"You intended to harm me but God intended it for good." Can I lay aside all of my feelings and say those words to the people in my life that have wronged me? I hope so.
We have so much that we can learn from Joseph's wise words. If we allow God's grace and forgiveness to work in our lives we too can be excellent examples of God's love and grace to others.