Saturday, February 2, 2008

Verse of the week - Genesis 50:20

In my private devotion time I wrapped up the book of Genesis this week. Joseph’s life always draws me in. So much suspense, heartache, twists and turns, and drama! He also showed such great faith in God throughout his life. This is all the more admirable when I remember that he did not have the Scriptures in hand to encourage him in the lonely years living the life of a slave in a foreign country. God’s word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path, drink for my thirsty soul, and sustenance on a barren day. Joseph had none of that, just promises, and his faith in them.

He stood by his convictions because through it all he recognized that, “it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Genesis 45:8) He could have easily seen his brothers after all those years and put them all in prison and left their families without food. He didn’t. He trusted God’s hand on his life and knew God, not his brothers' unkind deeds, had brought him to that position. I love that they show skepticism as to the genuineness of his assurances. After their father dies, they feel the need to revisit this topic and say that their father’s dying wish requested forgiveness for the brothers. Joseph again shows his faith in God. “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)

How often do I put myself or those around me in God’s place as the perceived provider of money, food, misfortune, jobs, housing, bad ‘luck,’ accidents, poor health, children, windfalls, etc. Every good and perfect gift comes from God, and often things we see as negative may be part of God’s plan for good. Sometimes we won’t even see it in this life. Many heartbreaks don’t make any sense, but I know God is in control and often what others may mean for evil, He means for good.

This also reminds me of a section in a book by Anne Ortlund, The Disciplines of a Beautiful Woman. She talks about how people stress about where the money will come from after losing a job. However, if we remember that all we have comes from God, the job becomes somewhat irrelevant. Obviously she does not encourage laziness, strongly condemned in the Bible, but rather to keep our focus on God as our Provider, our Sustenance. God is the same, doesn't quit and won't lay us off.

This week I desire to see my circumstances as the result of God’s working in my life. He loves me with an everlasting love, and regardless of the ups and downs of life, He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.

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

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