Genesis 45:4 So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. ESV
What would you have done if you had been Joseph? Would you have lashed out at your brothers and sought some sort of revenge? Perhaps many of us would have, but Joseph didn’t. Rather than rebuking them for the evil way they had treated him, Joseph spoke words of comfort and encouragement to them. How could Joseph come to the place to where he would once again embrace his brothers?
Joseph believed that God had allowed them to do what they did.
Many struggle with accepting that God might somehow allow some sort of evil to happen to one of His children. Surely the Lord will always protect His children from every form of harm. Yet the life of Joseph is a perfect example of how God sometimes allows evil things to happen to good people.
Joseph believed that God had a higher purpose He was working to accomplish.
No one knew that there would be a famine in the land when the brothers first sold Joseph into slavery. As far as the brothers were concerned, they would never have to see or deal with Joseph again. Yet God knew that a famine was coming. No doubt God caused the famine. Therefore, sending Joseph down into Egypt was a necessary step for God to accomplish His perfect will. If you and I would study our Bibles carefully, we would see that the famine wasn’t just about Joseph and his brothers, but the entire nation of Israel. It was in Egypt that Israel grew from a small family into a mighty nation.
Joseph allowed God to accomplish His purpose.
The only way Joseph could rise above the pain of his terrible circumstances was to allow the circumstances to happen. We do not always know or understand what God is doing; however, we must believe that He is always working and we must permit Him to do His will.
Because Joseph believed that God was in control and that He was working to accomplish something good, Joseph was able to release his anger and to forgive his brothers.
Even as I write this devotional, I realize that these thoughts and principles are easier to put on paper than to put into practice. The natural tendency for many of us is to lash out whenever we have been hurt. Yet Joseph’s example teaches us that we must step back and consider the bigger picture. Is God in control? Does He have a higher purpose? Could God actually be accomplishing something that will be great in the end?