“You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result – the survival of many people.” – Genesis 50:20 CSB
These words spoken as forgiving comfort to Joseph’s brothers who had wronged him serve as a working definition for Providence and guide much of the narrative of the Bible. What man has planned and plotted for evil or as harm against God’s anointed, God has planned it for good to bring about His ultimate purpose.
As Joseph is thrown into a pit, sold into slavery, and thrust into prison, it is hard to imagine how that might ultimately serve a good purpose, but it does. All of this served to position him in a place of influence in Egypt that not only provided sustenance for a whole nation and surrounding areas, but brought about his reconciliation with his family and brought Jacob’s family to sojourn in Egypt. For the descendants of Abraham who resided in Egypt, things got worse before they got better – just like with Joseph. Ultimately, God would provide a deliver in the person of Moses.
What happens to Joseph is also a foreshadowing of the one who came as a servant, went down to the pit of death, and broke the prison bars of sin, death, and Hell. When Jesus was crucified it seemed the evil plot of men had triumphed, when ultimately what was transpiring was for the good God intended – the deliverance of many people.
Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom often quoted her sister Betsy, “No pit is so deep, that He is not deeper still.” Joseph went down to the pit, that others might be delivered from death. Jesus went down to the grave, that our souls might be delivered for eternity. God may very well be working out the ill will of others in your life to accomplish His good, sovereign and perfect will.
“Father, it is difficult for me to understand why people revile me and utter all kinds of false things against me, but may it ultimately serve to honor You and bring about Your purposes in my life and in the lives of others, Amen.”
John Blackmon serves as pastor of Meansville Baptist Church.