But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. –Genesis 50:19-21
One of my favorite worship leaders often says, “I am thankful that God is God and I am not.” I always thought that was a pretty obvious thing to say, but as I was reading the story of Joseph, it struck me in a new light.
As a boy, Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. He was the slave of an Egyptian, who learned to trust and put him in charge of his entire household. However, his master’s wife plotted against him and he was thrown into jail. Joseph spent a number of years in prison, but while there, he successfully interpreted the dreams of two of Pharaoh’s workers. Two years later, when Pharaoh finally heard of this, he called for Joseph to interpret his dreams. Pharaoh saw great wisdom in Joseph and knew God was with him, so he put Joseph second in command over all of Egypt.
Years later, Joseph’s brothers came looking for food because of famine in the land. Joseph has the perfect opportunity to pay back the wrong inflicted on him by his brothers, but he did not. He embraced them, gave them gifts and called for his father and father’s family to live in the riches of Egypt so he could care for them.
No one would have begrudged Joseph for being angry and bitter. No one would have blamed him for hating his brothers for the life they had stolen and for making them pay for their evil. Joseph responded differently. Instead, he said, “Am I God?” Joseph understood a truth much deeper that just knowing God as all-powerful, the Creator, the Righteous One. He understood that God’s purposes run deep. He knew it was not his place to seek revenge. He saw how God used all his circumstances for good. Even when being sold, sitting in jail, and during times of distress, Joseph showed he always trusted the Lord and lived a righteous life. He knew that God is God, and that he was not.
1. What are ways you try to play the role of “God” in your life?
2.What makes it hard to totally forgive and clear the slate of those who have wronged you? What does God call you to do?
Psalm 46:6-11; Matthew 18:21-35; Romans 8:28