Caution: God Working!
by Kristin Schoeff
Isn’t the story of Joseph inspiring – and challenging? As I read and re-read today’s
passage, I couldn’t help but feel awed by the godly character of the man who was sold
into slavery at age 17 by his own brothers, was falsely accused of attempted rape and
sent to prison, and was forgotten and left to languish in the dungeon by a man he had
helped to be restored to his position in Pharaoh’s court. Joseph remained in prison until
at age 30 he was called to interpret Pharaoh’s dream and then was raised up to the
position of Pharaoh’s right-hand man. What a turnaround!
Genesis 39:20-21 says “But while Joseph was there in prison, the Lord was with
him” and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. In Potiphar’s home, in
prison and at last in Pharaoh’s court, Joseph obtained favor wherever he went. The
Lord was at work in his life, even when it would be easy to question that.
Two passages from the book of Romans came to mind as I studied this reading from
Genesis 50. The first is Romans 5:3-5:
“…we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and
character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been
poured out into our hearts…”
A man who never lost hope in the face of suffering, false accusations, unjust
imprisonment – this is a man who trusted in God. He allowed God to shape his
character through his suffering, and allowed God’s love to be poured into his heart,
rather than spending his years of imprisonment nursing bitter grudges against those
who had wronged him.
Certainly the most spectacular evidence of this was Joseph’s statement to his brothers
in Genesis 50:19-21 when they threw themselves down before him, fearing retribution:
“Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God
intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
So then, don’t be afraid.“
Long before the apostle Paul penned the words of Romans 8:28, Joseph LIVED them.
His faith and trust in God developed through his times of suffering throughout all his
years in Egypt, so that he could say from his heart that God was sovereign over all and
even when his brothers meant evil, God’s overarching plan was for a great good.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who
have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
What an example for me when I’m tempted to think God has forgotten me, or perhaps is
allowing life to “just happen” to me without His involvement. Even when the enemy
means something for evil, God intends to use it for good and for His glory in and
Lord, remind us when we’re forgetting the big picture of Your Kingdom…You intend
good to accomplish your purpose in and through us. Praise you for your sovereign
power and for your unending love. Amen.