Joseph had every right to be angry—to never speak to his brothers again. Their whole family had been a mess from the very beginning.
Joseph’s father, Jacob, provoked his sons by openly favoring Joseph over the others (Gen. 37:3-4). Joseph’s brothers responded by considering murder and then settling for selling Joseph to some traveling traders who took him to Egypt (Gen. 37:18-28).
Joseph didn’t find people in Egypt to be much better than his brothers. Potipher’s wife lied and accused him of assaulting her. Joseph spent years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit (Gen. 39:11-20). Then the cupbearer forgot his promise to help Joseph get out, and he was left for two more years of imprisonment (Gen. 40:23).
But in all of these hardships, Joseph knew the Lord was with him and the Lord was at work. He told 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.” (Genesis 50:20, NIV)
Joseph was right—God used him to provide for the Egyptians and the surrounding nations when seven years of famine hit the land. God used Joseph to provide for his father and brothers when they came to Egypt to buy food. And God used Joseph to bring his family to Egypt, where centuries later, God would put His power and faithfulness on display by bringing His people out of their oppression and leading them to the Promised Land.
The fact that God used Joseph’s brothers’ harmful actions doesn’t excuse their behavior. They sinned, just like those whose wrong choices affect you and me. Without taking away from human responsibility, God’s sovereignty over all that touches our lives gives us comfort and hope when we suffer because of the bad decisions or sinful actions of others.
Has someone ruined your day? Your month? Your year? It’s not okay that they are treating you this way. (And if you are in an abusive relationship, please get help.) But in the midst of your pain, remember this: God can use even the sin of others to accomplish His good plan for our lives.
No matter what you face this week, God can use your greatest problems to bring about His greatest purposes.Share