Genesis 50:20 – But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. NKJV
It’s unfortunate that as we go through this life we are going to get hurt! There is no getting around it. We probably offend someone at least once a day, and are offended at least twice a day, it’s a part of life. But there are some times when people are just down right mean, and it can cause you to stumble.
Joseph experienced this in a painful way. From his own family. From his brothers. And it was no accident. It was on purpose and intentional. Ouch!
Jacob had two wives. They were sisters! Jacob really loved and desired Rachel, but he was tricked into marrying Leah. Then he had to play lover boy to not only the sisters, but the Sisters’ maids in order to produce children. Finally, Rachel had her own sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Talk about a major soap opera! It gets worse.
Jacob made a coat of many colors for Joseph because he was Jacob’s favorite! Parents should never have favorites and then parade it around their children. When my kids asked who my favorite was I would reply something like, “you’re my favorite six year old, and so-so is my favorite…” Loving all of your children the same doesn’t mean treating them all the same, because different kids need different things. But they should always know they are loved equally. Anyway, Jacob treated Joseph as his favorite and his brothers despised him. To make matters even hotter, God started speaking to Joseph in dreams about ruling over the family, and he shared it, causing everyone to get angrier at him. Even Jacob didn’t care for that action!!
So when the opportunity came for them to harm him, that’s exactly what they planned to do. However, Judah interceded in the manner, planning on helping Joseph, but then the other brothers sold him into slavery. Can you imagine waking up tomorrow and realizing that you are so despised by someone that they are planning your demise, your destruction, your downfall; and they are your family or close friend? Well, it happened to Joseph.
Maybe it wasn’t this drastic for you. Maybe a family member was physically abusive to you; or maybe to one of your children. Maybe someone close to you stole money from you that you needed to pay your rent or mortgage. Maybe your spouse had an affair or your parent abandoned you. Maybe all of this, or some other junk that comes into our lives to mess us up! It could be a whole lot of stuff!
Well, Joseph did not allow that stuff to get into his heart and stop the plans of God. When the woman tried to seduce him, he wouldn’t have any part in it. He didn’t allow his pain to cause pain. When he was thrown in jail and falsely accused, he didn’t malign her character or say God had abandoned him. No way! He was still in such fellowship with God that he was able to interpret dreams. And when the cupbearer forgot about him for two years, he didn’t become bitter and declare it was no use in serving God. Nope! And that’s why he was ready for promotion when it came.
You see, Joseph had obviously decided that no matter what came his way, his hope and trust was anchored in the Lord. He looked for God in everything and in everything he served God. Unlike a lot of us today. My biggest pet peeve; the thing I hate the most, is to hear someone attribute the pain, hurt, and disappointment in their lives to God. Joseph didn’t do it! And neither should we.
That is why when his brothers thought “surely it was payback time” after the death of their father that Joseph was able to say to them, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good!” You see, some things in life may be difficult, but if we will trust God, He will work it out for our good. (Romans 8:28) He promised that He would. I personally don’t believe that God needed Joseph to be hated by his brothers to make those dreams come to pass. But I do believe that God knew they hated him so much that they would sell him, and God gave Him the dream in advance to give him hope. See, God is not reactionary! He knows the devil plans and He gives us a counter plan, often in advance, to thwart the devil.
Let’s face it! Life stinks some times. Even when we are trusting God to work things out for our good! But it is imperative that in the midst of difficult times and situations we keep our hearts right and our eyes fixed on Jesus! Then we will be able to say that what people (being used by the devil) mean for evil against us, God will work it out for our good! Wonderful Jesus!