The Journey of Joseph. God’s Good Purposes.

15When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: 17 ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.” ’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Genesis 50:15–20 (ESV)

Romans 8:28 (NASB95) says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” God has a purpose and a plan in everything that happens in our lives. He orchestrates events in our lives according to the good pleasure of sovereign will (Eph.1:3-6). Today’s text from Genesis 50:15-20 parallels Romans 8:28.

Jacob had died. It was in the immediate aftermath of his death that Joseph’s brothers wondered if he would finally enact retribution against them for their sin against him years before (Gen. 37). They reasoned, ““It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.”

The brothers could not come in contact directly with Joseph due to his high government positon, so they sent a message to him. The message said, “Your father gave this command before he died:‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.” ’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.”

Joseph was genuinely grieved by their concerns. Did his brothers not realize that God sovereignly directed all the events in Joseph’s life, including his brothers’ actions against him? Apparently they did not.

When Joseph and his brothers gathered together, he made a remarkable statement reflecting the divine providence of God. Joseph said, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Dr. R. C. Sproul explains, “Joseph assures his brothers of his pardon, stating the lesson his life teaches us: God overrides the intents and deeds of wicked men to bring about good (Gen. 50:20). Or, “For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). What the Lord does and allows is always good — because a good and praiseworthy end is always His goal, and He always accomplishes it. God blamelessly works concurrently with men, even in their evil events, to achieve an ultimate good. We can only trust with confidence a Lord who controls everything. If He is unable to use wickedness to further His plan, then evil remains free from His rule, and we could never be sure of His final victory.”

John Calvin says, “Let the impious busy themselves as they please, let them rage, let them mingle heaven and earth; yet they shall gain nothing by their ardor; and not only shall their impetuosity prove ineffectual, but shall be turned to an issue the reverse of that which they intended, so that they shall promote our salvation, though they do it reluctantly.”    

Remember, our God reigns. Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

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