Suffering, Sin, and God’s Providential Hand

Joseph's Coat Brought to Jacob
Jacob's sorrow over Joseph was eventually turned into celebration.

I have been listening to The Word of Promise the past few days, and have made it to the story of Joseph.  It is interesting to be able to listen to this story with the dramatized audio behind it.  It surely makes it come to life more than the felt board cutouts that I remember from sunday school. 

The thing that caught my attention as I listened is this:  God used so many painful and sorrowful moments to bring ultimate triumph over tragedy and to continue in the fulfillment of the prophecy given to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15.

Consider for a moment the full details of the story: Joseph’s brothers, who first plotted to kill, then to sell Joseph, who covered their sin with a lie.  Consider Jacob, the thief, who himself stole his brother’s birthright and blessing, who had been swindled by his uncle Laban, settled in what was, in essence, a strange land.  Through a history of pain, intrigue, sin, darkness, and human frailty, God extended His hand of providence and faithfully insured the survival of His chosen people.  Joseph himself was rescued from the darkness of the Egyptian prison and elevated to a position of greatness. 

I think the story of Joseph can best be summed up by his own words:

But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:19-21

Only God, the ultimate comforter, the divine lover of our souls, can change man’s heart such that grave evil as that can be met with the ultimate words of kindness and love.  Only God can take such human frailty and ugliness and make it beautiful.


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