When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him." So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, "Before your father died he commanded, saying, 'Thus you shall say to Joseph: "I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you." ' Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father." And Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, "Behold, we are your servants." Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones." And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. - Genesis 50:15-21
One of my favorite Bible stories is the story of Joseph. Joseph was one of twelve brothers, all born to Jacob (Israel). From these brothers came the nation of Israel, God's chosen people. God had a plan from the beginning to raise up a nation of His people, a people set apart to be holy and dedicated to Him. The fulfillment of God's plan of redemption, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, would come from this line of people. But early on, attempts would be made to thwart this plan. One such attempt came in the life of Joseph. Jealousy and selfishness led his brothers to sell him to a foreign people where Joseph would eventually end up as a prisoner in Egypt. But God's hand was upon Joseph and through the years of his captivity he found much favor with his superiors, being entrusted ultimately with governing the land of Egypt. But the day would come when the family would be reunited. How would Joseph receive his brothers who had done such an evil thing to him so many years earlier?
The brothers were afraid that Joseph would avenge their wrongdoing, but instead he forgave them. Verse 20 sums it up: what they meant for evil against Joseph, God meant for good so that many would be saved. God had a plan and that plan was carried out through Joseph. If Joseph had not been in Egypt, the famine that engulfed the land would have killed the entire family. Joseph was the one who would make sure there was enough grain to sustain the land. It was God's plan to spare this family. They were to become His chosen people. It was God's plan to use Joseph. It was God's plan to work for good the evil that Joseph had endured. For us today, God has a plan. Regardless of the evil that comes against us, God can work it together for good. Look to the Lord and ask Him to work all things together for good.
~Daily Disciples Devotional~