The account of Jacob is at one level a confused and puzzling one. It includes, family rivalries, deceit, and suspicion, great hardships, sexual sins and on this reckoning is surely a failure. However there are also great high points, as Joseph becomes the ‘saviour’ of his family and indeed of the world around Egypt, pointing in a thrilling way to the one who would fulfil ,many years hence, all the promises made to Abraham.
While it is sad to see the effects of sin on humanity it is also an encouragement that God uses ordinary sinful people for the outworking of his purposes and the final exchanges recorded between Joseph and his brothers highlight this truth.
Following the death of Jacob the brothers are fearful that Joseph will take his revenge on them although there is no indication at all that this might happen. They come to him (50.16), using their father as a way in seeking Jacob’s forgiveness and he responds with this great statement which we do well to ponder in a broken and mixed up world, in many ways not unlike that which has been our focus for the past month.
‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done and the saving of many lives’. 50.20
We surely grieve at the state of our world. It is broken because we are all sinners but in his forbearance God allows this brokenness as he works out his eternal purposes. We find it hard to understand his working but the Bible is clear that ‘God intends it all for good’ echoing Abraham’s word of faith and trust ‘Shall not the judge of all the earth do right’.
Take that statement of faith away and there is no hope! But knowing that God is the almighty sovereign LORD enables us to look beyond the multitude of problems facing our world each day. The inequality, the sickness, the persecution of one group by another, the posturing of the super powers, unemployment, fear and death and much more, all of which we bring upon ourselves, are ultimately used by God to bring about his good purposes. We can believe that or reject it but ultimately it is our relationship with Jesus Christ that is the key to such understanding for if
‘He (God) who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things. Romans 8.32
Yes we have to wait for those ‘all things’ as Joseph had to wait but they are worth waiting for!
May our lives today demonstrate to the world that we believe this.