Recently, I have been playing catch up with our church in our four-year Bible reading plan. I like to try to read it once a year, but this year I wanted to slow my pace and read it with other brothers who are going on this journey as well. It has given me some great insight and personal reflection. This month we are reading through Genesis and I have been captivated by Genesis 45 which tells us about Joseph and his journey through life and circumstances that were beyond his control. Genesis 45 English Standard Version (ESV)
Joseph Provides for His Brothers and Family
45 Then Joseph could not control himself before all those who stood by him. He cried, “Make everyone go out from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. 2 And he wept aloud, so that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. 3 And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. 4 So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God.
I am pretty sure that you are familiar with this story. There is a great musical on this story and if you ever get the chance to see it or rent the musical on DVD, then do. Often, we think that we can control our daily lives and our circumstances, but some of us who are reading this and are writing this will definitely disagree with this on a broad basis. Sometimes life throws us circumstances that are beyond our control. For some that could be loss of a love one, cancer, tragedy, job loss and so on. Sometimes life throws us trials and tribulations that we cannot understand or that we may dismiss as spiritual attack. Sometimes it may be spiritual attack and sometimes it just may be from the consequences of our actions.
But we have to ask this question: Is God over everything? Is He in control of everything? Why does He permits such things from happening?
Look at Joseph:
- His brothers despised him
- They were going to kill him
- He was sold into slavery
- He was falsely imprisoned
- He was left in jail after he interpreted dreams for the cupbearer and baker
- He was left alone without his dad and homeland for a large part of his life
After all of this, many of us would have thrown in the proverbial towel and said, “Enough, I cannot take anymore! I quit” Or maybe we would just be angry and blame everyone else for our circumstances. Joseph had every reason to blame his life circumstance on his brothers and could have wallowed in that misery, anger and depression for the rest of his life. Instead he chose to trust God and lean on God’s understanding instead of his own understanding.
After all of this, he realizes through life’s trials and tribulations that God had a much bigger plan for his life than Joseph did. It didn’t matter what Joseph wanted or how he wanted to spend his life, because God sent him on a different trajectory. This was a path to save many lives and to keep a people from extinction. So it was not Joseph and his brothers, instead it was God who put him in these circumstances – was it fair? In the world’s terminology, probably not. In God’s plan – absolutely. It is amazing to read how God ordained this for Joseph and Israel and his eleven brothers and their people.
Instead of getting mad at our circumstances or upset or depressed or left alone, maybe we should turn our attention to God. Read His word. Study His word and reflect on it. Maybe we should pray and ask God for His insight and His guidance. Maybe we should get over ourselves and our circumstance and realize it was not you who sent me here, but God.