Verse of the Day Devotion: Genesis 50:20
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” – Genesis 50:20
In the book of Genesis we find one of the best known and intriguing stories in the Old Testament, that being about Joseph the son of Jacob and Rachel. Interestingly, this story is also found in the Quran, but with some very distinct differences.
It starts with Joseph’s brothers being so jealous of him that they made a plan to kill him. “When they saw him from a distance and before he came close to them, they plotted against him to put him to death.” Genesis 37:18. However, Judah convinced them to sell him to Ishmaelites rather than kill him. “Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him, for he is our brother, our own flesh. And his brothers listened to him.” Genesis 37:27. So they sold him and then went and told their father he had been killed.
The Ishmaelites then sold Joseph to an Egyptian officer named Potiphar, the captain of the bodyguard. Joseph was then given charge over all Potiphar’s property, and there was no issues because God made him successful in what he was assigned to do. “The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian.” Genesis 39:2. However, Potiphar eventually cast him into prison because of false charges from his wife. And again, God was there. “But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.” Genesis 39:21.
It then came about that the King of Egypt cast the chief cup bearer and baker into the same jail as Joseph. He then interpreted dreams they had through the help of God. The baker was told he would be hung on a tree but the cupbearer would be restored to his position, so asked that He would mention him to Pharaoh. “Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house.” Genesis 40:14. The cupbearer forgot his promise, but when he remembered Joseph was ushered in to interpret Pharaohs dreams. After hearing the interpretation, he was given a powerful role in Egypt. “You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.” Genesis 41:40. And in this role, he was able to save his family and all they owned from the incredible famine that hit Egypt and the surrounding area. If interested, you can read the entire story of Joseph in Genesis 37 through 50.
Joseph had a very difficult life. He was sold by his brothers to Ishmaelites around the age of seventeen, who then sold him to Potiphar as a servant/slave. After a year or two, he was thrown into prison because Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him of indecent activity. He spent approximately twelve years in the prison before Pharaoh called him and ultimately put him in the position where he was second in command. All this took place over a span of approximately thirteen years. And why did God allow all this? Joseph starts by asking the question, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place?” Genesis 50:19b. This is actually more of an affirmative proposition rather than a question. Then he continues with our focus verse. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Genesis 50:20. God allowed it to happen in order to save Jacob and all who were with him from the famine that was to occur.
Many times we go through difficult time and wonder why God is allowing it to happen. However, we should not be asking why, but rather ask Him what He wants us to do. God brought me through all the things that happened to me as a child, while in the Air Force, and eventually throughout my years working: both in my own company and while working for others. When I look back, I see an incredible journey that has made me who I am today. And it was God who took me by the hand and guided me to the people, places, and experiences He had for me, one being studying and receiving my Master and Doctorate from a Christian Seminary. It was not the path I would have taken if it were up to me, but I ended up in a good place, heading up a ministry where I can exhort people and help them understand what this Christian Life is all about. It was not always easy, but it was always beneficial to my relationship with God.
He has a reason for everything that happens, and we know it is for good. It is His promise to us. Two verses that show this reality. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. Everything He allows to happen is for a good. And the second, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. Everything that happens is for a good, either for ourselves as told in Romans 8:28 or for another as found in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. We should look at everything that happens as a blessing for us and many times for another. For me, this makes it easier as I look forward to what God is doing through me. “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.“ Philippians 2:13.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.