And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
“I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt” (Genesis 45:4).
With those words, the ultimate climactic moment of confrontation and reunion erupts. Can you think of a more profoundly dramatic event anywhere in history or literature?
Almost 1900 years before Christ, the sons of Jacob had sold the favoured son to a passing caravan, producing his bloody signature garment to lead their father to conclude that Joseph had been killed by a wild animal.
After having been abruptly torn from his home, Joseph was subsequently employed as a slave in the home of an Egyptian senior government official before being sent to prison, the victim of a false accusation by the official’s wife. (Given the nature of the charge – attempted rape – and as a foreign slave, Joseph would have been promptly executed. The fact that he was merely sent to prison, demonstrates that the official knew the authenticity of Joseph’s character, and was very skeptical of his wife’s version of events.)
For 22 years, Joseph lived alone in a distant land, far from the Hebrew worship of God – much of that time as a slave and then as a wrongly indicted prisoner.
For 22 years, his brothers lived with the lie.
For 22 years, Jacob grieved the loss of his favourite child, and Benjamin missed out on the godly influence of his only full-brother.
But then God moved miraculously, manipulating the course of history to instantly raise Joseph from prison to Pharaoh’s 2iC (second-in-command). The God of Abraham was working to sustain Jacob’s family at a time of famine throughout the known world, so that the patriarchal promises – of a land, a nation, and an ultimate Blessing – would ultimately come to fruition.
Theologians call this the doctrine of convergence, or confluence: God sovereignly conducting an unseen, universal orchestra – guiding people, events, and context – to ensure that His purposes and outcomes are realized.
But why did God put Joseph and the family of Jacob through such a protracted period of suffering?? Could the Almighty not have accomplished His conclusion in less time than 22 years?
In short, yes.
But He has His own reasons for achieving His purposes in His ways in and His timing.
And our role is to confidently trust.
Takeaway – Lord, give me the faith to trust Your promise: that what You cause to happen, and what You allow to occur, will result in good for my life.