No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is…
Life is full of hard knocks, but Joseph had more than his share. Think about all of the rotten things that happened to him. He was hated by his jealous older brothers who sold him as a slave to some foreigners. He had been on a good will mission to bring them some supplies, but they treated him scornfully.
Then while in the service of an Egyptian master, he was falsely accused of making sexual advances toward the man’s wife. The truth was that Joseph had remained pure in the face of temptation, but they threw him in prison.
The scenario was looking bad, but God was with him. While in jail, the Lord enabled Joseph to interpret the dreams of two of the king’s servants. According to the prediction, one of them was set free to return to the palace as chief butler. Joseph begged him to plead his case before Pharaoh, but he forgot all about the kind and innocent prisoner. That is, until one day when the king had need of one who could interpret his dreams.
“Oh, yes,” thought the butler. “I know someone who can help. Oh no! I promised I’d help him, but I forgot. Well, maybe it’s not too late.” And so – sure enough, Joseph was brought before Pharaoh to see if he could do what all the king’s magicians could not do. “I cannot do it,” Joseph said, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” And he did. Egypt was saved from the predicted famine, and Joseph was rewarded by being made a ruler in the land. Finally, it seems, Joseph gets his due. But the story isn’t over.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch – in Canaan, that is, Joseph’s father and brothers were burdened by the widespread famine. Hearing that there was grain in Egypt, the brothers went to buy some grain. And with whom did they have to negotiate? The wise and powerful Joseph, not recognized by them, of course. Now Joseph was in a position to “get even.” But he didn’t.
Well, he did make them squirm, beg for mercy, bow down, and negotiate from a very precarious position? And when he had tormented them as long as he could stand it, he revealed his true identity. Then those brothers were terrified! They knew what they deserved. But Joseph showed them how God had been in the whole ordeal. He said, “God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God.” And later comes one of my favorite statements in Scripture: “But as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” (Read the story in Genesis 50.)
When things look their worst, when people purposefully sin against us, when we are wrongly accused, when there is no earthly way out of the mess we’re in, there is God, who always has been, who still is, and who always will be working for good. We may think things are hopeless, but God never lets things get totally out of hand. Never out of His control.
Are you trusting Him today?
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