The Hidden Good in Joseph’s Life
Pastor John C. Berg
He said, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be upset or angry with yourselves for selling me to this place, since God sent me ahead of you to preserve life.”
This is your daily devotion for May 13th. Yesterday we started a new series of devotions which I’m calling “The Hidden Good.” Every day we look at a person in the Bible whose life illustrates the truth that God works good for us even through bad times. Perhaps the classic example of this is Joseph, one of the sons of Jacob. Joseph had many brothers, including half brothers. Unfortunately Jacob had two wives. He favored one wife over the other, and favored her sons over their brothers. Predictably, his half brothers were jealous of him and how he was treated. Their jealousy culminated in an infamous incident in which they threw Joseph into a cistern and then sold him to a slave trader. They then told their father that Joseph had been killed by wild animals.
This was just the beginning of Joseph’s troubles. He was taken to Egypt and sold as a slave in the house of Potiphar. Things went well until Potiphar’s wife accused him of trying to force himself on her. Potiphar then threw Joseph into prison. It’s probably save to imagine that an Egyptian prison 4,000 years ago was a horrific place. While in prison the Pharaoh learned that God had given Joseph the ability to interpret dreams.
To make a long story short, Joseph was made the second most powerful man in Egypt because he was able to tell the Pharaoh that his dreams meant they would have seven years of good harvest followed by seven years of famine. Under Joseph’s direction Egypt wisely saved up grain during the good years. People came from all over during the famine to get food in Egypt.
Even Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt where Joseph said to them, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be upset or angry with yourselves for selling me to this place, since God sent me ahead of you to preserve life.” Even Joseph could see how God had worked through his suffering to bless him and many others. Genesis 45:15 says “He kissed all his brothers and wept over them. After that his brothers talked with him.” When Joseph was in prison I would imagine it was really difficult for him to think of a scenario in which his relationship with his brothers could be healed. But God accomplished it.
God may not use the suffering in your life to save the lives of thousands of people, but it’s probably more likely that you have some relationship problems like Joseph did. Through this pandemic God may be giving you an opportunity. Is there someone who you used be close to and would like to be again but you don’t know how? Something happened, there has been resentment and no communication for years? It’s hard to know how to make the first move in fixing something like that. It can seem really strange to call someone out of the blue. But it seems less strange right now, doesn’t it? The most important things seem even more important now. Reaching out to check on someone doesn’t seem as out of place. Is God giving you an opportunity to talk to someone and say, “I’m sorry. I love you and I want us to have the relationship we used”? Perhaps. Keep your eyes open for the Hidden Good! Amen.