Scripture: Genesis 45:1-15
Key Verse: So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. (v. 8)
Observation: We recall that Joseph’s brothers initially wanted to kill him but decide to make a profit off of him instead. They sell him to Midianite traders for twenty pieces of silver and he ends up in Egypt (Gen. 37:28). But God is with him throughout and he finds favor with Pharaoh after successfully interpreting Pharoah’s dreams. Because of God working through him, Joseph is able to foretell the famine that overtakes the land and more importantly, devise a plan to gather grain so that when the famine occurs there will be grain in Egypt. This is how he is reunited with his brothers. They have come to buy grain because there isn’t any grain to be found anywhere else. His brothers are obviously shocked and then dismayed that Joseph has such power. They fear that he will retaliate. However, Joseph’s thoughts are not on revenge but on God.
Analysis: We often ask questions about the existence of evil and injustice in connection with our belief that God is almighty and all knowing. It is easy to come to the conclusion that these two facts cannot co-exist. A loving, all mighty God would simply destroy evil and injustice before they could take root. Furthermore, since God is all mighty and all knowing and does not stop injustice and evil, then we can blame God for its very existence. However, Joseph tells a different story and helps us to see that indeed a loving, all knowing, and all mighty God can and does exist simultaneously with the evil and injustice in this world. Joseph correctly identifies the fact that God was with him throughout all of the evil acts that were perpetrated against him. Joseph recognizes that God is not to blame but that God worked through the evil acts of injustice to bring about a good, to save lives. Joseph’s story is a foretelling of the Jesus story. Through Joseph, God offers relief from physical hunger and forgiveness to the brothers who sold him into slavery. Through Jesus, God offers not only physical healing and wholeness and forgiveness but spiritual healing and wholeness leading to eternal life. When Joseph says, it was God not you, who put me here he is not saying God is to blame but that God worked through and redeemed the brothers’ evil plan with death as a possibility to bring life. It is difficult, particularly if you are the direct object of injustice, to remember that God is at work even when it appears that evil is winning. We are called to hold on to our faith as Joseph did so that we can say you did not put me here, God did!
Prayer: Gracious and loving God we are so quick to bemoan our situations and quick to blame you for our suffering. Help us, God to see that you are opposed to all evil and injustice and are working on behalf of those who suffer. Help us to join in your efforts to bring healing, relief, and forgiveness. In the name of Jesus. Amen.