Key Verse: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
In life, we are faced with many choices, but one thing that none of us can choice is our family. No one gave us the option of being born into a wealthy family or a low-income family. Into a slum or a palace. No one asked if we would like to be born in the UK, USA, the Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya or Uganda. Neither could we choose to have good parents or bad parents. Loving parents or abusive parents. We were all born into the circumstance in which we were born with no choice.
Joseph was born into a chosen family. His parents loved him deeply. In fact, as unfair as it sounds, he was their favorite child. This favoritism caused his brothers to resent him to the point of hatred. They wished he was never born, but since he was, they wanted him dead and came as close to murdering him.
Like many today, he was born into a split family or half family. While they all shared the same father, most of his siblings were born by Leah, Joseph’s Aunt. She was also unloved by Jacob, which probably made their resentment and division even worst. When Joseph was seventeen years old, his mother, Rachel died. Instead of comforting their brother, they decided it was payback time.
Things started to go from bad to worst for Joseph. Few people have faced as many disappointments as Joseph.
Firstly, Jacob sent Joseph to visit his brothers. He probably wasn’t that excited knowing that they didn’t like him. He had already experienced their bullying, but he wasn’t expecting what was to come next. Genesis 37:18 says “But they saw him in the distance, and before he reached them, they plotted to kill him.” What a welcome! Then just before they were to leave him to die, they see some slave traders and think, “Let’s sell him, that way we’ll get rid of him and make some money.”
Joseph was tied up and dragged behind that camels to Egypt. Through the hot desert sun, every step, further from his father who loved him. Every step remembers that they his brothers had done. Joseph was sold to a man named Potiphar, who after time saw Joseph’s value and put him in charge of all his household. But the Potiphar’s wife lies because she didn’t get her own way with Joseph, and Joseph ends up in a prison cell. Again mistreated and abandoned. In prison, he is again forgotten by his fellow inmates after their release. Time after time, he is mistreated, abandoned and forgotten by those who are close to him.
We know the rest of the account. After interpreting the pharaoh’s dreams, Joseph offered him some advice. Genesis 41:33 “And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt.” Pharaoh looked a Joseph and realized he is this man. Joseph is promoted from the prison cell to second place in all of Egypt.
In all that had happened, God was shaping Joseph like a piece of clay. Everything he had gone through was preparing him for this day. Nothing occurs in our life by accident, but God uses everything to shape us. Joseph went on, to save not only Egypt but also his brothers who had treated him so disgracefully. God gave Joseph an amazing understand, in Genesis 50:20 he said to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
Maybe those closest to you have mistreated you, and you find it difficult to trust. Perhaps you find yourself in an emotional prison. Then remember God can also deliver you from the dark place and use you to save many.