“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.”
Genesis 50:20, 21
The Bible record of the mistreatment of Joseph and then his eventual exaltation is priceless. It is an unsurpassed lesson on the subject of dealing with adversity. After being betrayed by his family and merchandised as a slave, he found himself in Egypt. The wife of Potiphar lied about Joseph and he was cast into prison due to false accusations. Yet, he continued to rise above his circumstances and eventually became second only to Pharaoh in the land of Egypt.
What kept Joseph from giving up? How did he resist the temptation to become bitter? One thing that kept him going is revealed in our text. Joseph had a conviction about the role God played in his life. He believed that God was in control and allowed things to take place for His divine purpose. To his brothers, Joseph said, “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.”
Joseph was convinced that God had a reason for the things He permitted in his life. The same is true in our lives. Difficulty may come our way by the hand of jealous or unruly men, but we can know that somehow God wants to use it for good. I have heard it said more than once, “Our trials will make us better, or they will make us bitter.” If we do not have the right perspective concerning our tribulations, they can become stumbling blocks to us. Instead, we want them to be building blocks for our character and future opportunities.
Joseph’s brothers could not understand how understanding and forgiving he was to them. They kept thinking that eventually he would repay them for the evil they had done to him. Instead, it says in our text that Joseph “comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.” They had lied about him and betrayed him. One would think Joseph would stand in need of their comfort and encouragement, but the opposite is true. He ministered to them.
We need to remember that whatever comes our way, God is ultimately in control. We can look beyond our circumstances, our problems, and the evil intentions of our enemies, to see that God is working and will use these things for good. This is a principle to live by – always seek to keep our eyes on the Lord.