Have you ever been unjustly treated? Lied about? Betrayed? Joseph experienced all these things.
Today I am going to do something a little different and take a devotion from our Firmly Planted Family Study Guide, Book 2. We were reading this with our children recently a few things jumped out at me that I want to share with you. The point of reading this story and this particular Scripture is to instill into your children that even though people might mean something for evil, God can use it for good.
Of course the children have their “small” testimonies of being treated badly… but to them, it’s big! When I stop and think, a hundred instances of injustice can come to my mind… times when I have felt wronged, unjustly accused, even lied about! This is why the story of Joseph is so powerful.
Genesis 50:20 says, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.”
This week’s story is a good one. The passages are Genesis chapters 42-47. A little context: this is the continuing story of Joseph and his brothers. Here we find his brothers on their way to Egypt. Remember, Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery (!!) and now his brothers are going to Egypt for food because they are experiencing a famine in the land. They don’t know that their brother whom they sold is now a prince of Egypt—one of the most powerful rulers in all the land!
I’ve been blessed over the years to read God’s Word with our children. I’d suggest that if you’re not already doing that, now is a great time to start. If you want, you can grab your kids and snuggle up and listen to this via the audio link above. Listen carefully! You might remember that Joseph was Jacob’s favorite son and that Joseph’s brothers sold him to some traveling slave traders. The slave traders eventually sold Joseph to a man named Potiphar. Potiphar worked for Pharaoh in Egypt. Many amazing things happened to Joseph while he worked for Potiphar, some of them were bad, but some of them were good. Eventually, Joseph found favor with Pharaoh and was placed in his household. This was an incredible outcome! Joseph was now in charge of most of Pharaoh’s business.
Think about it. Here Joseph was enslaved and thrown into prison. It looked like God had abandoned him, but Joseph kept trusting on the Lord, no matter what his circumstances were. He trusted God. He believed God’s promises were true.
Because Joseph believed that God loved him and because he obeyed God, he was able to prosper eve though suffering.
A little more background: There had been a famine in the land for two years and the future didn’t look any better for growing crops. In result, Joseph’s father, Jacob, sent ten of his sons to go to Egypt and see if they could buy enough grain to feed their families. Jacob had two sons by his “favorite” wife, Rachel. Joseph was the first, and Benjamin was the second. Because Jacob believed Joseph was dead, he didn’t want to risk anything happening to Benjamin, so he kept Benjamin at home with him while the rest of his sons traveled to Egypt.
The 10 brothers made their request known to Pharaoh’s manager who happened to be their brother Joseph. Many years had gone by so the brothers didn’t recognize their brother at all. However, Joseph knew immediately that these were his brothers. He kept his identity a secret and he tested his brothers by saying he thought they were spies and not traders. Finally, Joseph insisted that they go home and bring their brother Benjamin when they returned. This was Joseph’s true brother, also born of his mother Rachel, and Joseph longed to see him. When they returned with Benjamin, Joseph played a few tricks on them, testing them further until they believed he would surely imprison them or make the slaves.
Finally, Joseph could stand it no longer and broke down, revealing that he was their long lost brother Joseph who was now an important man in Pharaoh’s empire. His love for his brothers remained. Surely this love came from God. By himself, Joseph would have had every reason to hate his brothers—and instead, he loved them.
So why is this important to us? You see, sometimes we are placed in difficult situations. Joseph had the authority to make all those brothers be imprisoned, killed, or enslaved but instead he made sure they had the food they needed to take care of their families. Sometimes, we are put in difficult situations or might be treated unfairly by someone. We need to know that just like Joseph, God always has a plan for those who love Him. Even the evil schemes from our enemies turn out to be used for our own good when we trust God.
That doesn’t mean we will always get what we think we need. It means that God, who sees all things, is working behind the scenes for our good. He can be trusted.
No matter what you are facing today—you can trust that God is working things together for your good. Pray and talk to the Lord abut whatever is troubling you today. Then, rest. Let God do the work that only He can do.
You are loved!