Hi Arnold Community Church! In an effort to be connected to one another in this time of isolation I wanted to pass along some thoughts of encouragement and perspective. I hope they are of help to you!
Joseph’s Story and God’s Sovereignty
One of my favourite stories in the Bible is that of Joseph. You can read the story in Genesis 37-50. It is a remarkable story of struggle, injustice, rags to riches kind of story. But underlying Joseph’s life is a much bigger God who is working out his plans not only for Joseph and Joseph’s family but a grand plan to redeem the world. It is incredible to observe how God is sovereignly working in the details of this story.
The story began with Joseph’s jealous older brothers selling him into slavery, instead of killing him. He was bought by a high ranking Egyptian official named Potiphar who eventually trusted him to oversee his entire estate. The key quality of Joseph was his determination to honour His God no matter what happened to him.
Potiphar’s wife falsely accused Joseph of rape and he was sent to prison where again he arose to a trust worthy position as an administrator in the prison. During this time he remained faithful to God who allowed him to correctly interpret the dreams of the King’s baker and cupbearer. The cupbearer was reinstated to his position with the Pharaoh and when Pharaoh himself had an unsettling dream the cupbearer said he knew of a man who could interpret his dream for him.
Joseph was called to interpret Pharaohs dream which he did. Because Pharaoh recognized that God’s Spirit rested on Joseph he was made second in command of the entire nation of Egypt. He was tasked with managing the coming abundant harvests in light of the looming famine which God had revealed to Pharaoh in his dream. When the famine hit several years later people traveled to Egypt to purchase grain, including Josephs brothers who were living in Canaan. They made the long and arduous trek to Egypt.
Amazingly, when they arrived in Egypt and were trying to purchase grain, Joseph recognized his brothers. Joseph’s brothers obviously thought Joseph was long dead and didn’t, in their wildest imagination, think they would ever see their brother again. Joseph is overcome with a flood of emotions but contains himself. He then develops a complicated plan to reveal himself to his brothers (you’ll have to read the story to get the details).
When his brothers are brought to his palace I am sure they were quivering with fear, anxiety and uncertainty. Joseph can no longer contain his emotions, orders all his servants and guards to leave so he can be alone with his brothers. Through many sobs and tears he says “… it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. God sent me ahead of you to prepare for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” (Genesis 45:5&7). He later affirms to his brother his loyalty by saying “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”(Genesis 50:20)
God is always working to bring about good in all situations, even the current crisis we are in. Let’s remain faithful to him, trusting him to work out his good plan… whatever that might be. The technical term for this is called the Sovereignty of God. As Sovereign or King over the entire universe He is and has the capacity and desire that in all things He works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purposes (Romans 8:28).
Joseph didn’t know God’s good plans when sold into slavery, but he remained faithful to God throughout his journey. In God’s timing he revealed his good plans, the saving of many lives, to Joseph… and He will do the same in our current time of upheaval and uncertainty. Like Joseph, let’s also be vigilant and expectant as we watch God do things we could never ask or imagine would happen as we demonstrate with our trust an abiding confidence in His sovereign control. He will provide, He will overcome, He will guide and He will bring about His good plans for those who love Him.