Genesis 50:19–20 (NIV)
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.”
As we continue our journey through Advent and its themes of hope, love, joy, and peace, why are we spending so much time in Genesis? The Lord Jesus who appears to us in his Advent, at the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4–7), is a branch from a family tree that shoots its strong roots deep into the soil of the earliest recorded human history. Jesus’ family tree and family story have withstood the most violent spiritual weather events of the ages. The gates of hell will simply not prevail against the church, whose story is now a part of the story of Christ (Matt. 16:17–19).
Joseph is an important figure in the faith root system of Jesus, and of each one of us today. From his humble beginnings, to his ‘technicolor dream coat,’ to his slavery and imprisonment, to his revelatory gifts, to his remarkable ascent to political power, to his commanding presence as the vizier of the great Pharaoh, Joseph’s story of faith reveals many profound truths that can keep us on the path to life (Ps. 16:11).
In Genesis 50:19–20, when Joseph finally reveals himself to his betraying brothers, he uses these halting words: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.” Though Joseph’s path was treacherous and life-threatening, it led him to a place where he could save his people, along with the Egyptians, during the bleak years of a widespread famine.
Jesus, Master of the Human Heart and Great Deliverer from the Bondage of Sin, was done tremendous harm on his journey. The story of the life of Joseph must have sprung to mind often in early church gatherings, having seen their Lord unjustly treated at the hands of the empire and even a close friend, and then rising as the ascended Lord before their very eyes!
Yet, as Jesus walked his own harrowing journey in his first Advent coming, the Father had a purpose pulsing behind it all. With the name Jesus (“the Lord saves”) guiding and framing his mission, Jesus’ path led him to the place where he could intervene to save every single one of us who trust in his name. Like Joseph before him, all that the enemy intended for evil in Jesus’ life was turned to good.
We know the stories that followed Jesus’ triumph, because they are our own. Evil manifests itself in many lives in many different ways, and our enemy intends to steal, kill, and destroy each one of us. That’s the enemy’s plan, and it’s on the agenda every day. But what does Jesus do? He intervenes.
He takes all that evil and pain and suffering and hopelessness in our lives, and “works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). You and I are living examples that Jesus brings good from evil. Pause here to worship with me! Our Advent Lord turns evil to good! The enemy has no cards left in his hand for all eternity!
This Advent, Jesus is at work for your good and mine. You need not be enslaved to the power of evil or its effects anymore, nor does fear have the authority to command your daily thoughts, emotions, and actions unless you give it that place of authority. Today you can celebrate that you are beloved, you are a cared-for soul, and God is working all things for your good—to his glory.
Lord of the Great Conversion, I thank you that you are always converting the hard stories in our lives into radiant testimonies of your faithfulness. This Advent, I defer and surrender to your work in the midst of the challenges I am facing. I revel in your promise to “make all things new” (Rev. 21:5) when you come again in all your glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Is there a hard story in your life that Jesus turned for good, that is now a beautiful and important part of your testimony of God’s faithfulness? Like Joseph, how has God used that story to impact the lives of others around you?
For the Awakening,