As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people2 should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20
Children who love their grandpas tend to love their grandpas’ stories. As Joseph’s grandfather, Isaac would surely have had occasion to sit down with him and relay story after story of God’s provision—to speak truth into his grandson’s life. You and I can only imagine how Joseph must have cherished Isaac’s stories and instruction. But the goodness of God to his family in generations past appears to have sustained Joseph even in his most painful moments, for a remarkable truth about this man is that he was always aware that God was in control. Surely Joseph was learning to say, as the psalmist would later sing, “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!” (Psalm 27:13).
Indeed, Joseph was given one opportunity after another to witness God’s providential care. As a 17-year-old boy, he saw God at work even in the midst of his brothers’ hatred. Reuben’s suggestion that they put him in the pit ultimately spared his life, but it was God’s intervention that gave Reuben the idea and enabled Joseph’s brothers to go along with his plan.
Shortly afterward, an Ishmaelite caravan arrived at just the right time, as if by divine appointment (which it was!) They were doing their business as usual; they could have taken a look at Joseph and said, Forget it. We don’t need him. Yet God’s providence determined that they would buy Joseph.
In each case, God used the selfish interests and desires of others as instruments in saving Joseph’s life, and eventually the lives of many.
The truth of Genesis 50:20 is the foundation of Joseph’s life: although his brothers intended evil, God intended good—and God’s intentions always win out. Joseph’s earthly father may have been back in Canaan, but his heavenly Father went with him into Egypt. His path may have been rerouted by the envy of his brothers, the lust of Potiphar’s wife, the anger of Potiphar, and the selfishness of the cupbearer, but supremely it was directed by his God, for the good of His people.
Do we treasure this truth about God, as Joseph did? God will accomplish His purposes, even when we have no idea where we are headed or what He is doing. This is our hope in every circumstance. When trials come, then, we must not shun them, since we know they come from the hand of a kind Father and that they somehow further His plans to save and sustain His people. We see the goodness of God in the lives of our spiritual family in generations past—in Scripture and throughout the history of the church. You can be certain that in all your days and doubts, in all your fears and failures, in all your fractured relationships and broken dreams, you remain under His fatherly care.
Devotional material is taken from Truth For Life: 365 Daily Devotions by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company. Used by Truth For Life with written permission.