The “you-meant-it-for-evil-but-God-meant-it-for-good” concept is so beautifully embodied in the story of Joseph. Sold into slavery because of his brothers’ offense and jealousy, the young man Joseph goes through some pretty incredible adventures to eventually become the Number Two chariot in Egypt. It is a foreshadowing of what God was planning to do through Jesus. The Romans and the Jewish leaders meant it for evil, but God’s plan always trumps man’s.
Many years later, his own brothers come knocking at his door wanting to buy food due to the terrible famine, and, not recognizing their ill-treated sibling, Joseph eventually reveals himself. And not only does he give them much needed food, but invites them to bring the whole family (70+ by now) to live in the best land Egypt has to offer. Oh yeah, and bring dad, too. The dad who this motley crew had lied to, the dad who thought this son was dead. These brothers find themselves face to face with an Old Testament version of amazing grace.
“So Joseph sent his brothers off, and as they left, he called after them, ‘Don’t quarrel about all this along the way!’ And they left Egypt and returned to their father, Jacob, in the land of Canaan.”
Once again, I like obscure little phrases that seem so “unnecessary” in God’s stories, and here’s one about Joseph encouraging his brothers to not fuss with each other over this situation on the way home. The brothers are all forgiven, they are now provided for, they are re-united, they are on the way to a total blessing in the midst of catastrophic famine! Who would even think about quarreling when they should be celebrating???
Yeah, quite a bit of water had flowed under that bridge since Joseph had seen his siblings, but he still remembers their penchant for disgruntlement.
Joseph knew his brothers, and God knows the bent of our hearts as well. Jesus has offered His forgiveness, initiated our reunion with our Father and each other, and has secured our future blessing. So where’s the celebration? Most assuredly, He knows that in the midst of all of this, we are still apt to quarrel with each other.
- “She got more than I did!”
- “It was your fault more than mine!”
- “I told you not to do that!”
We still want to blame, justify, rationalize, lay guilt, hold offense.
We are still in the “along the way” phase of our sojourn. Time to heed Joseph’s prophetic instructions—
Genesis 45:24-25 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt Book 2) (Kindle Location 2838). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.