If ever there was a life that didn’t go according to plan, it was Joseph’s. Joseph as a young man was sold into slavery by his brothers, taken to a foreign country and ignored the advances of his owner’s wife, which led to him sitting in prison for years. Many years later, after it had been forgotten that he was even around, Joseph was called upon to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams and eventually became second-in-command of all of Egypt!
The story comes full circle when during a great famine (which was what Pharaoh was dreaming about) Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to ask for food. Thanks to Joseph there was plenty! I’m sure if we could sit down with a 17 year old Joseph and asked what his plans were for life they wouldn’t involve slavery, foreign countries, and sitting in prison for years. Did he have a right to be mad at his brothers? We would certainly think so, but he said to them, “But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives” (Gen 45:5). Joseph knew that even when the worst things were happening, it was all part of God’s plan. When his brothers offered themselves to him as slaves for repayment, “Joseph replied, ‘Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.’ So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.” Pray that when life is going poorly and people seem “out to get you” that you remember God has a plan for your life. Ask God for life to NOT JUST be marked by your circumstances, but to be a beatuiful story of God working THROUGH your circumstances. “You intended to harm me, BUT GOD intended it for good.”
14 After burying Jacob, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had accompanied him to his father’s burial. 15 But now that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers became fearful. “Now Joseph will show his anger and pay us back for all the wrong we did to him,” they said.
16 So they sent this message to Joseph: “Before your father died, he instructed us 17 to say to you: ‘Please forgive your brothers for the great wrong they did to you—for their sin in treating you so cruelly.’ So we, the servants of the God of your father, beg you to forgive our sin.” When Joseph received the message, he broke down and wept. 18 Then his brothers came and threw themselves down before Joseph. “Look, we are your slaves!” they said.
19 But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. 21 No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them.