In Genesis 37, we read an early account of human trafficking in the life of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers. In Egypt, Joseph was a slave to Potiphar, and thrown into prison when his wife lied about Joseph rejecting her temptations. But even in the darkest times of his life, Joseph remained steadfast and faithful to God.
Eventually Joseph was placed as the highest leader [besides Pharoah himself] in Egypt and he was able to help his family and feed the whole of Egypt and beyond, during one of the worst famines in history. God also gave Joseph the opportunity to forgive his brothers and sweet restoration took place in this beautiful story of reconciliation and forgiveness. In the story of Joseph, we see an example of how God brought good out of a situation that was clearly meant for evil.
God is with us in our struggles. The Bible states many times that “the Lord was with him [Joseph].” God never abandoned Joseph. Joseph was betrayed by his family, enslaved, falsely accused, and wrongfully imprisoned, but God’s presence continued with him, granting strength, hope, courage, blessings, and favour to Joseph. Though people disappointed Joseph, God never failed him. Even in his most painful circumstances, God remained with Joseph, and He stays with us too because He is faithful. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” [Hebrews 10:23]
Our Lord God is a God of restoration. What others mean for evil, God is able to turn into good. Sometimes others might try and use us for their own benefit, and they might hurt us emotionally or even spiritually, but God is never blind to our pain. God is a God who sees every detail of our lives. He loves us! He cares about our well-being. He can bring both healing and restoration to each one of us. Restoration requires forgiveness, patience, and love. It needs willingness on our part to be living sacrifices for Christ.
Joseph knew that his direct restoration with his brothers was pointing to a greater restoration to come. He could sincerely say to his family, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” [Gen. 50:20]
Precious Father God, thank You that Your eyes are always upon us, that You know the deepest needs of our hearts, and that You can help our pain to become our gain when we trust You. Help us to rely upon You whenever our relationships with others are broken. Please comfort us in our needs and restore us to wholeness when we are hurting. We love and worship You and thank You for loving us even when we feel unlovable.
Faith in the Lord to be just. Joseph told his brothers not to fear and asked them, “am I in the place of God?” Joseph was acknowledging God’s sovereignty as judge
The Lord is also slow to anger, showing great patience towards His people in their sin. So too should we be patient with others. Like Joseph who was patient toward his brothers who were still afraid of him, so too should we bear with others in their weaknesses. Like Joseph, who suffered so that many could have life, restoration requires a willingness on our part to be living sacrifices for His glory, accepting our own suffering as a means by which He may give life to many others in Christ Jesus (see Colossians 1:24).
The brothers confessed their sin against Joseph. He did not deny that it was deeply sinful, saying, “you meant this for evil against me.” Their sin was not minimized, but their repentance was met with love and forgiveness because of the Lord. So too can, and should, we confess with confidence, knowing we have a gracious Savior who has won our forgiveness by His own blood.
Hope in the Lord’s promises and presence. Joseph knew that his immediate restoration with his brothers was pointing to a greater restoration to come.