Genesis 50:20 ‘As for you, what you intended against me for evil, God intended for good, in order to accomplish a day like this – to preserve the lives of many people.’
– In the Old Testament is a remarkable story about a man named Joseph.
– He was born into a great family and He was the favoured son.
– He enjoyed a special relationship with God and the Lord showed him dreams and visions about the future.
– But everything seemed to go horribly wrong.
– He was sold into slavery by his brothers, he was reported as dead to his father, he was falsely accused by his owner’s wife and he ended up forgotten in prison.
– Yet at every turn God intervened and turned the bad situation into something unique.
– In every situation things worked out in a remarkable way for Joseph.
– The end result was that God used all the evil and the bad things he faced to position him for success, power, influence and as a result used him to save the lives of many people.
– A story, which would appear to be a trail of disaster, became a road to a divine purpose and destiny.
– In the end God restored everything that had been lost and stolen and He even took the evil intentions of others to set Joseph up as an example to each of us.
1. JOSEPH FACED UNIMAGINABLE EVIL REPEATEDLY, BUT WAS ABLE TO BOUNCE BACK EVERY TIME.
– In life we all face things that seem unfair, unjust and even evil in nature.
– It is easy to begin to think that someone, something, or everyone is against us and that things will never move in our favour.
– The enemy of our souls would like to see us destroyed and eliminated and he will use any means to accomplish this – even those close to us.
– John 10:10a ‘The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.’
– Joseph faced this to a great extent, but every time he was able to bounce back.
– His attitude and his willingness to serve kept opening doors for him.
– After being sold as a slave to Potiphar, he served in such a way that he became the head of his owner’s household.
– After being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife he was thrown into prison where he served the authorities and the other prisoners and became responsible for all the prisoners.
– After being forgotten about in prison, one of the prisoners that he had helped told Pharoah about him and he was taken from the prison to the throne in one day.
– Joseph had this amazing ability not to sink into despair and discouragement but to make the most of the situation and in each situation things turned in his favour and ultimately he was exactly where he needed to be when the right time came.
– John 10:10b ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’
– Our attitudes and willingness to make the best of a bad situation can turn things around for us, and with God’s help, it can set us up for His divine purposes.
2. GOD CAN USE THE ADVERSITIES OF OUR LIVES FOR HIS PURPOSES.
– Adversities are part of life.
– Joseph could have been forgiven, or at least understood, for being an angry, hurt, offended and depressed individual.
– He could have blamed himself or others and he could even have blamed God for his situation, but he had a different attitude.
– I believe that deep within himself, he believed that there was a divine or a deeper meaning and purpose to what he was going through, even though he couldn’t see it at the time.
– If we look through history and see how God has turned situations around or given them meaning and purpose, we can also have a different attitude.
– It doesn’t really matter where the difficulties or the adversities come from, we must remind ourselves that God is in control of all things.
– The Lord does not bring this evil into our lives, but those who do are unwittingly setting the stage for His plans and purposes to prevail.
– Perhaps today you are facing some adversities. They often present themselves in many different ways.
– Even if it feels unfair and unjust and you cannot see the purpose in what you are going through, have the courage to believe that His hand is in all of it and He will turn it into good.
– Romans 8:28 ‘And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.’
3. DON’T GET IMPATIENT – TIME REVEALS THINGS.
– When we are in the middle of struggles and adversities, time seems to move very slowly.
– I remember a time when we as a family were going through tremendous hardship and adversity. We trusted the Lord, we prayed, we fasted, we even performed prophetic actions because nothing seemed to be changing. This season lasted seven years and then within six months everything had changed and we realised that God had something different in mind and He was moving us on to better things.
– It is, however, difficult during the time when nothing seems to change. We can, and often do, get impatient, frustrated and desperate.
– When we get impatient it can lead to taking matters into our own hands and history shows us that this is often the point at which we can make mistakes.
– When Joseph was going through such times, he watched his attitude, did the best that he could, served and made himself almost indispensable in the situation.
– In the end Joseph got to see God’s plan and purpose unfold in front of his eyes and in front of all of those who had tried to destroy or forget about him.
– Your patient trust will be rewarded.
4. ETERNITY WILL REVEAL THE REASON FOR ALL THINGS.
– Sometimes when we look at things from our earthly perspective it is difficult to see the purpose in all things.
– My great-grandmother married at a young age (18) and had five children. One day her husband became ill at the age of thirty-six. He died within 7 days. He had contracted the Spanish Flu of 1918. She was present at his death and had wondered about her own health after having been exposed to his sick state. She was left isolated in the rural Eastern Cape of South Africa as a clerk on the railways with five minor children ranging from 9 years to 5 months of age and she was only thirty.
I have often wondered how she coped with all this adversity and hardship. But God made a way and brought this family through all of these challenges and her children followed God and today there are a number of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and even some great, great-grandchildren who are all in the ministry, serving God and helping others to know the love of God in their lives.
There was no way that my great-grandmother could ever have imagined how her family would be used intergenerationally by God. I am sure that while she was going through the roughest of times she wondered if it was worth it. If she had known that down the road there would be generations of people serving God, because of her faithfulness, I’m sure she would have said: ‘I can do this!’ But now, from her eternal perspective, I am sure she knows that it was all worthwhile.
– When we are facing challenges they seem very real in the moment. So real, in fact, that they cloud our judgment. We may feel like we are just existing or surviving. What we do not always realise is that we are still playing a role, setting an example and showing those who will come after us how to deal with their challenges.
– One day, when we go to be with the Lord, we will be able to see, with the benefit of eternity, all the meaning of life’s most challenging situations.
– When we get to heaven, only then will we fully understand why we had to go through certain things.
– The story of Joseph is an illustration of this for us. As he looked back on his life he was able to say the following: ‘As for you, what you intended against me for evil, God intended for good, in order to accomplish a day like this – to preserve the lives of many people.‘ (Genesis 50:20)
– Note it says: ‘to preserve the lives of many people.’
– When we get to the other side we will discover that the challenges that we faced, were not only for ourselves alone, but also for others and more, it would be part of God’s great plan to save and preserve the lives of many people.
– So go for it – it will be worth it in the end.
– God will bring good out of evil.
By Andrew W Roebert
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