God Meant it for Good
When we get toward the end of the narrative in Genesis that covers Joseph’s life, we are able to see a man established in position, but also in his faith. His brothers, however, feel that they are much more precariously placed at Joseph’s mercy. Once their father Israel had passed, they were concerned that Joseph’s good pleasure may end toward them, considering how they had acted in the past. Joseph allays their fears by explaining his understanding of the past. “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, [but] God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” (Genesis 50:19-21)
While this particular statement is meant for the actions of the brothers, it is true of many things in Joseph’s life. Seeing Joseph’s faith in this circumstance is important, because it is only after our struggles that we can see the purpose for our endurance. However, we must remember to have the dedication to see the other side. We can see many kinds of situations that were meant for evil in Joseph’s life that God, ultimately, meant for good.
The first event that Joseph endured is the one he meant when speaking to his brothers. Joseph was meant for slavery, but God meant it for salvation. Joseph’s brothers were so jealous, “they hated him and could not speak to him on friendly terms.” (Genesis 37:4) In their hatred, they first determined to kill the young son of Jacob (Genesis 37:18-24), but then then elected to sell him into slavery (Genesis 37:25-28). While these actions were the expressions of their sinful attitudes, God was intentionally placing Joseph in a much needed place, because “the Midianites sold him in Egypt to Potiphar, Pharaoh’s officer, the captain of the bodyguard.” (Genesis 37:36)
While in service to Potiphar, Joseph was enticed by the master’s wife to commit adultery. However, Joseph refused based on his loyalty to Potiphar and God. “There is no one greater in this house than I, and [Potiphar] has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9) Subsequently, Potiphar’s wife slandered Joseph and accused him of attempted rape. As a result, “Joseph’s master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined” and he prospered greatly. (Genesis 39:20) Potiphar’s wife meant Joseph evil, but God meant for Joseph to be there.
In prison, Joseph interpreted the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s servants, and his interpretations were seen to be true. This led, eventually, to Joseph standing before Pharaoh himself, and providing a great salvation for Egypt and the whole region. A lot of calamity befel Joseph, but even more blessing was going to be provided through him.
No matter what situation we are put in, through evil intent or negligence, we must remain true, because God may be meaning it for good.