His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:18-20
From prison in Egypt, Joseph (with God’s provision) interprets the Pharaoh’s dream. He tells him there will be a time of plenty, followed by a time of famine. He suggests they store up food during the time of plenty to get through the famine. Joseph eventually becomes second in command over all of Egypt, the most powerful nation at the time.
Things happen just as Joseph interpreted. When famine also reaches Joseph’s family, his brothers travel to Egypt to purchase some of the stored supplies. They have no idea Joseph is still alive, much less in such a prominent position. They are ultimately reunited and Joseph’s family all move to Egypt where they will be taken care of during the famine. The brothers fear Joseph though. They assume that he would surely want revenge like they would, especially after their father (Jacob) dies.
After all that Joseph had been through – hardships and successes – his faith is unwavering. He recognizes God’s hand in all of it. He intends to bless, not seek revenge. His brothers may have meant their treatment of him for evil, but God meant it for good. Joseph landed in a position to save all of Egypt and his family.
So this is how the Israelites (remember Jacob was renamed Israel) came to live in Egypt. They flourish under the protection of Joseph. They grew in numbers as God promised long ago.
We are still a long way off from the arrival of the Messiah, but we get a glimpse here of something to come…something meant for evil against Jesus – his death on a cross – bringing about so much good.
Challenge: Like Joseph, we too will have unfair and even evil things done to us in our lives. Memorize Genesis 50:20 to remember that God can use even these things for His good purposes. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20 (NLT)