Snapshots: Day 33
The Snapshot: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Gen 50:20) What incredible insight the spoilt-brat-cum-savior Joseph now has. Just like Peter: “God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death.” God using the wickedness of man to bring good. You could never have dreamed that up! I sometimes think that this is one of the most powerful reasons to believe – we could never have dreamed this up – Joseph becoming a slave to come the second most powerful man in the Middle East to bring salvation. The death of a ‘man’ on a cross to bring justice to eternity and forgiveness to you and me. No, I never saw that coming – until it did!
Further Consideration: Approaching the end of Genesis, we find ourselves with a revelation from the mouth of Joseph that is without doubt, awe-inspiring. Here is this relatively young man who had been sold as a slave by his brothers, put in prison for fourteen years before being released into a position of immense power. That power means that he could give one order and his brothers would be dead, but he doesn’t, he makes provision for them in Egypt and they settle and grow into a nation.
What is fascinating about this is that Joseph has the wisdom and insight to be able to look back and see that what took place, the Lord had allowed to bring him eventually into this place of power whereby, with the wisdom and revelation of God, he could ensure millions would be saved from starvation. Time and again God had intervened in the sinful affairs of this sinful world – that enslaved and imprisoned Joseph – and blessed him in such a manner that that wisdom and later that revelation would bless him, even as a slave, even in prison, and cause him to be brought out to become ruler. A lesson there surely has to be that God can still bless us in less than ideal circumstances!
But the other side of this, that doesn’t come out at this point, is that there is a future dimension to them being in Egypt. As God has told Abraham, four hundred years (a long time!) would pass before they would leave and return to the land God had given Abram. Here Joseph gave the family grasslands in the north where they could continue to raise their sheep, (even disliked by the Egyptians) and so this grassland acted as a womb in which they would grow and become a nation. They could have left at any time, remembering the promises to Abraham about Canaan, but they didn’t. They settled in this comfortable land until it became less comfortable, but they would have to wait for a few generations to pass before that came about.