“And God sent me” (Joseph, Gen 45:7)
Do you believe in the sovereignty of God?
Joseph was about 17 years old when he made his ill-fated journey to Shechem. As the favored son, he had enjoyed a life of privilege and ease. His role on that trip was to assess and supervise. He tracked down his brothers in Dothan. Over the 12 hours that followed he was the victim of an impulsive hate crime. It was sin for his brothers to attack him, throw him into a pit, then sell him to Ishmaelite traders. They shed blood to hide their offense and crafted a lie that they would carry for more than two decades.
Joseph was the victim of hatred and violence.
Potiphar’s estate was a place of opportunity for the young man to build his reputation as hard-working, smart, and honest. Over a ten-year span, Joseph ascended through the ranks, earning the respect of his coworkers and the trust of his master. Potiphar’s wife was attracted to Joseph. She reached out to him – an offer of sensual pleasure. Joseph fled from the illicit invitation, protecting her purity as well as his own. The spurned would-be lover responded with anger and lies. It was sin for Potiphar’s wife to offer herself to someone other than her husband. An innocent man went to jail.
Joseph was again a victim.
In the dungeon, Joseph remained a man of integrity. He was noticed and promoted to a leadership position. The unusual dreams of the baker and cup-bearer were an opportunity for Joseph to share insight from God. His interpretation of both dreams was accurate. He requested the attention of Pharaoh and freedom from prison. The cup-bearer forgot about Joseph.
For a third time, Joseph was a victim.
We like the next part of the story. We love the sudden jump from the bottom to the top, from prison to palace. Joseph would have been about forty years old when he stood in a position of power. His brothers bowed flat on the floor and begged for their lives.
“God sent me before you”. Joseph told them twice in that first conversation, in both Genesis 45:5 and again in vs. 7. Allow the full weight of that statement to sink in. Joseph was repeatedly a victim. This is not an excuse for the sinful actions which resulted in Joseph being enslaved, humiliated and imprisoned. This is a statement of absolute confidence in the sovereignty of God. The sins of Joseph’s brothers and Potiphar’s wife were used to put Joseph in position not only to save Egypt, but also his own family!
This does not exonerate anyone who has taken advantage of you, who has treated you poorly. There is no excuse for sin, only hope of repentance and forgiveness. Don’t intentionally put yourself in situations in which you are abused. Might we more fully grasp the reality of the sovereignty of God. What happens to you does not surprise God. You haven’t made the jump from prison to palace, maybe you never will. Is Joseph’s God your God? His sovereignty can be trusted.