Used By God (Joseph Part 4)
Have you ever wanted to take revenge on someone? I think we all have wanted to. It’s in human nature to do so, because of the sin in our lives. I think Genesis 42-45 we see that Joseph might be taking his opportunity as a ruler to take revenge on his brothers. What could we learn from these three chapters as a 21st Century Christian?
In Genesis 42:28 Joseph’s brothers asked the question, “What is this that God has done to us?”. His brothers thought that God was cursing them for selling their brother to Egypt and lying to their father about his death. We see this line of thinking from the brothers while they are in Egypt and being accused of being spies, and we see Jacob is worried that he is going to lose his other youngest son. Without their view and understanding of knowing Joseph is the ruler of Egypt screwing with his brothers, the brothers and father are all confused and can’t help but wonder and ask the question, “What is God doing?”. Have you ever been in that same situation that everything around you seems to be falling apart and life doesn’t make sense and now you wonder, “Where is God?” or “What is God doing?” Joseph’s brothers and father were in that same exact season in their life.
We can’t exactly understand fully what is really happening here until we look at what God said in the past. In Genesis 15, God told Abram that his offspring would be enslaved in another land for 400 years. He told Abram that God would punish this nation and they will leave with great possessions. We read about it in Genesis 15:13-16. So right here in this Joseph story, Joseph is most likely taking revenge on his brothers for selling him to be a slave. The cool thing though is God uses this screw-up of Joseph and draws Jacob and his brothers to the Land of Egypt, fulfilling a prophecy and promise God made to Abram. Sometimes we might not understand completely what God is doing, but we can have complete confidence in knowing that God is doing something.
Now maybe you’re thinking, “what, God drew Jacob’s family to Egypt to be slaves?” Yes, sometimes God will draw us into bad situations for good reasons. I was homeless for about three years. That season of my life is one reason why I enlisted into the US Marines. It’s also the reason I was able to understand that I need to better manage my money. And it’s the reason I got my life insurance license and now very interested in investments. God uses those bad seasons in our life to strengthen us, grow us and bring us closer to himself. Maybe you lost a job, could be a great time to go back to school. Maybe you got demoted, a great time to learn to be better at your job. Maybe you are just paycheck to paycheck, a great time to learn about passive income. In these bad seasons, God wants to strengthen you. So how did God strengthen the Household of Jacob by making them slaves?
This is the Prophecy
13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know this for certain: Your offspring will be foreigners in a land that does not belong to them; they will be enslaved and oppressed 400 years. 14 However, I will judge the nation they serve, and afterward they will go out with many possessions. 15 But you will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a ripe old age. 16 In the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” Genesis 15:13-16
There are three main things God was doing by bringing Jacob’s household to Egypt, to be enslaved by Egypt. First, God wanted to show the offspring of Israel who he is against all the gods of Egypt. God says he will judge the nation they serve. We know that later on Moses went into Egypt and made things happen that were a testament against the gods of Egypt. God will be showing this generation who he is compared to the other gods. Next, we see that God was going to use this season of oppression to bless the offspring with riches and many possessions from Egypt. Last, God was waiting for the sins of the Amorites to reach the full measure. So there are all these things God is doing in the background that we don’t see or will never know about, but we are called to trust him in these seasons of doubt and worry and know God is working everything out for the good of those who love him and called according to his purpose.