“I am Joseph, your brother,” he said, “the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed or angry with yourselves that you sold me into this place, because it was to save lives that God sent me before you. For the famine has covered the land these two years, and there will be five more years without plowing or harvesting. God sent me before you to preserve you as a remnant on the earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God, who has made me Pharaoh’s adviser—lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.  —Genesis 45:4-8

            How startled these brothers of Joseph must have been!  After carrying the guilt of selling him into slavery 22 years ago, now here they were, bowing down before him, the 2nd in command of all Egypt!  More than likely they thought this was it for them, but what a turn of events. 

            Joseph did say that they sold him “into Egypt!”  But, he also said that they should “not be distressed or angry with yourselves that you sold me into this place.”  Yes, his brothers must have been feeling distressed with the situation they found themselves in.  They were feeling the distress that Joseph felt when he had pleaded with them not to sell him, but they would not listen.  He also told them not to be angry with themselves for doing what they did.  Why? — “because it was to save lives that God sent me before you.”  Joseph understood the bigger picture.  The Sovereign ruler of all Creation worked through what his brothers did to place Joseph exactly where He wanted him.  This was done to save Joseph’s whole extended family from starvation and preserve the seed from which the Messiah would come which was through the tribe of Judah.

            Our sorrows and sad situations should be seen in the bigger picture of things.  What is God doing through them?  Joseph did not find this out until after 22 years after his brothers sold him into slavery.  So the difficulties we experience are being used by God.  We may see how in this life or we may not, but “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (II Corinthians 4:17).  Be sure that God is using these difficulties in our lives for our benefit even though we might not understand that fully now.  Trust Him!

Dear Father, please help me to persevere in serving You whether through times that are good or bad.  Oh, that I would trust You at all times and so do in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son, Jesus.  So be it!

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