Genesis 50:20 - But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
There are many biblical stories that describe what seems to be hardship situations. Situations which seem unfair. But God...always has a plan. There are reasons for everything all of us experience. We don't always understand them but if we are open to believing we can't know everything and believing still that God is in control of all things, we will be better off.
Remember these things:
- Egypt is symbolic of the world, of the things not of God, of evil, as it were, decadence, over the top power, fame, fortune, excess.
- God always has a plan. He can use evil or discomfort to bring it about.
- If we trust in Him, no matter what, His plan will be for our good.
- Only God truly knows what we have need of.
Yesterday I finished reading about Jacob and his deteriorating relationship with his father-in-law. Jacob needed to flee from his family in one country because his brother wanted revenge against him. And after being situated in that country for many years his father in law became upset with him so God told him to go back to his family and the previous land. Imagine being between a rock and a hard place. But it was God's suggestion. If he trusted God it would be okay, though he didn't know what the outcome would be. It would be fine. Reconciliation would take place! And because Jacob's life was spared, so was the lineage to Christ. And what was His role? To save lives.
There's Moses. He was born a Jew. To save his life his mother put him in that little basket on the river. Pharaoh's daughter found it. Without her knowing it, Moses' mother became the nursemaid. The first 40 years Moses learned both his Jewish roots and the ways of Egypt. Again to save his own life, he fled to the mountains and became a sheep herder. Forty more years pass. During that time Israel is captured by Egypt and they are made slaves to pharaoh. God then calls on Moses to save them and lead these people out of Egypt back to their land. Moses needed those 80 years of training in Egypt's ways, his own Jewish roots and how to lead in the hills with sheep, for this important task. To save lives. I am reminded that we are all like sheep in need of guidance...(Isaiah 53:6)
Joseph's brothers were jealous of him because he was their father's (Jacob) favorite. Some wanted to kill him but rather than have his blood on their hands they decided to sell him into slavery. And guess where he ended up? Egypt, again. As a servant in his house, pharaoh's wife took a liking to him and attempted to seduce him. Joseph would not have it, but in trying to escape from her lost his coat. Out of anger because of the rejection, she used this to get him sent to prison. He was there for many years, an innocent man. Yet God used him in an extraordinary way and he was then released to become second in charge of Egypt, maintaining the storehouses. When there was a famine in Israel, Joseph's brothers were sent to Egypt to purchase food. Long story short, they met up with their brother, reconciliation took place, and Joseph saved his family.
God led all these people in one way or another into circumstances that, like I said, seemed unfair. Yet God knew the outcome already. He knew the preparation necessary in just these three lives. (Believe me there are more stories...Esther, Ruth, Noah, Jonah, Jeremiah, Job, and more...Jesus.) They were all used to save in some way. Sometimes salvation didn't occur, just like today.
If we are believers and followers of God our lives may be in training for some end result. It probably, ultimately, even if we don't see it, will be to save someone's spiritual life. It may not be is as great a way as these three stories, but somewhere someone will have benefited. We don't see His plans. We live out our lives in that faith in the unknown and unseen going about His business. But God knows. Maybe not knowing or seeing takes the possibility of our pride out of the picture. God gets the glory.
We trust in Him, right up to our last day. We stay obedient to our Father. We read His Word so we can know and hear our Shepherd's voice and be reminded of the times people of long ago went through trials just to see God's hand in the end. He speaks to us through His Word. All that is written in the Bible is for us to learn from. Examples of God's goodness to His people and His judgment when we choose not to trust and obey.
We will never be perfect. We will take wrong turns or be disobedient at times. We might not hear God's voice because we are distracted by our own desires or thoughts. But God is in the business of saving lives. We have to lose things in our lives to gain the life He has to offer. Who is willing to trust Him in all things? Who is willing to look at difficult situations as stepping stones to greater things? He is the Good Shepherd. He will guide us and go before us, like He did with these three people. He will work behind the scenes. Who is willing to trust in Him till death's door is upon us?
Matthew 24:12-14 - And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.