You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result — the survival of many people (v. 20).
When Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt looking for help in the midst of a devastating famine, he could have tossed them out of the country — or worse. They had once been so jealous of their father’s love for Joseph that they contemplated killing him before eventually selling him into slavery and into what they likely assumed would be a life of misery.
Sometimes God makes use of instruments for good to His people, who designed nothing but evil and mischief for them. Thus Joseph’s brethren were instrumental to his advancement in that very thing in which they designed his ruin. – John Flavel
None of them could have known that Joseph would rise to become the second-most powerful man in the country, behind only Pharaoh himself. Imagine what it must have been like for Joseph to see his brothers come before him in obvious need. Rather than exacting some sort of revenge, Joseph forgave his brothers for the terrible things they had done to him.
When you’ve been wronged, it sometimes hurts profoundly. You might be tempted to lash out in retaliation against the one who hurt you. As difficult as it is, though, Christians are called to forgive. Joseph’s story is a good illustration of forgiveness, and Jesus is the ultimate example. Can you think of someone, or maybe even a few people, whom you should consider pardoning? Taking that first step might be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done, but it’s an important step that demonstrates love and obedience to God.
- Read: Genesis 50:19-21.
- Ask: Why do you think God wants us to forgive those who have wronged us?
- Ask: What keeps us from forgiving others?
- Pray: Lord, thank You for the forgiveness You’ve shown us. Help us to move past our own hurts in order to forgive others and also to ask forgiveness from those whom we’ve wronged.
This article is an excerpt from Stand Firm: God’s Challenge for Today’s Man.
View a sample issue of Stand Firm.