“And now, do not be distressed
and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here,
because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you”
Joseph’s world kept falling apart. His father’s favourite, he was hated by his ten elder brothers who sold him into slavery in Egypt. There as the slave of Potiphar things were just beginning to improve when he was falsely accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife and imprisoned. Again he made the best of the situation and his hopes were raised when God gave him the correct interpretation of the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s servants. However, instead of being brought to the ruler’s attention, he was forgotten. Then at last Pharaoh himself had dreams which no one could interpret. Joseph’s time had come. He was brought before Pharaoh, clearly interpreted the dreams and advised him on the course of action to adopt in view of the severe famine that was on the way.
Pharaoh responded by appointing Joseph the ruler of Egypt. He did all that was necessary to store food and, in due course, to distribute it wisely. Eventually his brothers arrived in Egypt seeking food for Jacob and his family. Without recognising him they ‘bowed down’ to this important person – just as Joseph himself had dreamed long before! After a while there was a grand reconciliation. The brothers departed to fetch their father and their families and, with Pharaoh’s blessing, made their home in Egypt in the fertile land of Goshen. There they would stay until God was ready to bring them out of Egypt, form them into his ‘treasured possession’, and lead them to the land promised to Abraham.
God had His purpose and plan and used the frailties of the people to bring them about. Joseph arrived in Egypt, just where God wanted him, and God kept him safe, even using the prison, until the time was right for him to assume the role prepared for him. This would not be the only time that such a thing happened. Moses was kept safe in the Pharaoh’s court, and then in the lonely exile of the desert, until God’s time had arrived. In more recent times Nelson Mandela in South Africa was kept in the secure isolation of a prison until the time, and he, was ready to lead a nation from its own ‘bondage in Egypt’ on the first steps towards a Land of Promise. All three went from positions of relative obscurity and dishonour to positions of great power, authority and ‘world-wide’ recognition.
Whatever may be happening, or not happening, in our own lives God has not forgotten or forsaken us. His plans include each one of us. Some will take centre-stage whilst others will serve in the background. Each one is, however, important to God and His purpose. And for each one again the promise recognised by Paul is so true,
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Father God I turn to You now and find You with me. Please help me to know, trust and live in Your presence and will today and every day – in all things great and small. Amen.