If you don’t know the story of Joseph and his brothers I’ll give you a run down. Joseph was the next to youngest of twelve brothers and he had a gift. God talked to him in dreams and told him that his brothers and even his mother and father would one day bow to him. Rather than keep it to himself he blabbed it all over the place. His brothers didn’t particularly like this and therefore eventually sold him into slavery. Joseph still had the favor of God on his life and so he rose to prominence even as an Egyptian slave. In fact he became second only to the Pharaoh. At that time the Pharaoh had a dream and no one could interpret it except Joseph. Joseph told the Pharaoh the meaning of the dream and it foretold of a famine that was coming. With the knowledge of a coming food shortage they began to stockpile grain.
Once the famine came it forced Joseph’s brothers to come into Egypt in search of food. By this time Joseph was in charge of the food distribution. His brothers hadn’t seen him in so long that they didn’t recognize him when they came to him to ask for food. After Joseph put them through a series of test he eventually revealed himself to them and they feared for their life. They knew he had the power to have them killed if he did so choose. But that isn’t what happened.
The story of Joseph and his brothers comes to a close in the final verses of the last chapter of the book of Genesis with an astounding statement from Joseph. Once Joseph revealed himself to them they became afraid of what he might do to them. Joseph’s response is nothing short of amazing. He told them “Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear not I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spoke kindly to them.”Wow! I told you it was amazing. Rather than vent his anger on his brothers Joseph chose instead to see all of what happened to him as coming from the hand of God. While some people might say things like “God allowed it.” Joseph didn’t, he said “God meant it”, and that is quite different than he allowed it. God meant it, now that changes everything. Once I really looked at this I discovered that these types of things are elsewhere in the scriptures and I would like to share a few of them with you.
In John chapter nine we find a story about a man born blind. Jesus gives him his sight back and it just happened to be on the Sabbath. The religious leaders of the day used this as another opportunity to harass Jesus. They grilled the ex blind man about who Jesus was and eventually threw him out. He in essence was excommunicated. The Bible says in John 9:35 they had put him out. But if you read a little further into chapter 10:3 it tells us that the shepherd calls his sheep by name and leads them out. Now what’s going on here?
The religious leaders appear to be putting this man out, but the truth of the matter is the shepherd (God) is leading him out. Once again God meant it. I suppose what this is showing us is that God is in fact sovereign in all the affairs of men. I think God used these religious leaders to lead this man to Jesus. While it may seem like a round about way to do it; God is the one in charge.
Let’s look at another instance found in the second chapter of the book of Acts. Peter stood up in the middle of a Jerusalem street and boldly proclaimed the truth without fear. He told all in attendance that they were responsible for the death of the Lord of Glory. He told them that Jesus was handed over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, and yet he was nailed to the cross and put to death at the hands of godless men. Now you’re catching on aren’t you? God knew all along what would happen, in fact he meant it. It was God’s plan all along, but from the outside looking in it appeared to be a ghastly deed perpetrated by evil, godless men. Isn’t it awesome how God is in control of everything even when everything screams at you that he isn’t?
I don’t know what is going on in your life right now, but I can say this by the authority of the word of God “God is still in control”. These are only three of many examples found throughout the scriptures but I think they are enough. No matter what comes our way if we are his God means it for our good and his glory. Amen!
Written by Louie