January 17, 2021
Reading Schedule: Genesis 48-50
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
After Israel's death, his sons once again experienced great guilt about their treatment of their brother Joseph. From this great guilt sprang great fear. Instead of dealing honestly they defaulted once again to lie and deception. In verse 17 they sent a message to Joseph saying that their father had told them: So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. Upon hearing this Joseph wept. With all that had transpired, with all the time Joseph and Jacob had spent together, certainly if this were his father's message he would have told Joseph.
Joseph must have discerned that they were only trying to protect themselves. You see, they, his brothers, saw the situation from their point of view. If the tables were turned, they would probably use their position to punish or even destroy those who did them wrong. After all, remember the story of Dinah, this was a ruthless bunch. They bring to mind a story of a thief that opened a jewelry store. He believed that everyone coming into the store would steal from him. Why? Because that is what he would do in the same situation.
But Joseph was of a different spirit. He saw the situation from a loftier perspective. He saw the unseen hand of God in the situation. So, he wept. How could his brothers, with all that he had given them since their reunion, how could they think so evil of him? His forgiveness, benevolence, non-judgmental attitude, love, and acceptance were attributes they could not believe. Just like most today do not believe that God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, could extend these same attributes to fallen people. God gave the story of Joseph in the first book of the Bible to show forth the manner in which He will deal with all mankind throughout every age.
So, the next time someone's thoughts against you move them to perform all manner of evil toward you, remember the spirit of Joseph. They may have meant evil toward you, but God will mean it for good. Someway, somehow, sometime, and in some manner, God will turn their evil into someone else's good. The early disciples believed this, that is why when persecuted, beaten, and even imprisoned for preaching Christ the Bible records in Acts 5:41: And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. They walked in the spirit of Joseph, in the spirit of Jesus.
If any person suffers from the inability to forgive, the story of Joseph is like the balm of Gilead. Apply this story to your soul, once, twice, or more, apply it until you can say like Joseph, But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good...
Until tomorrow, live for Christ today