Genesis 50:19-20 New King James Version (NKJV)
19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 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.
I have worked in corporate America all of my adult life. If there is one thing corporate America is big on (other than the bottom line) it is team building. If you work for a corporation of any size, at some point in your career, you will find yourself in a room or on an outing doing a team building exercise. Within this exercise is always some type of trust activity. I don’t know how you feel, but these are always my least favorite. I can handle the egg toss, the what do you know about me game, I can even deal with all manor of races. I just loath the trust game because it inevitably involves a trust fall. One person stands behind the other and the person in front forces themselves to fall backward and the person standing behind them is supposed to catch them before they hit the ground. inverably, I would always get the wise guy that would step backward when I would start my trust fall, catching me at the last possible moment.
Often times, as followers of Christ, it can feel as though God will never catch us – as though we are destined to fall, destined to fail. We have all felt this way. And, have also kicked ourselves for it. We have all felt guilty at one time or another for doubting, wondering how a situation was going to play out, or (and let’s be honest) been absolutely afraid. If no one has ever told you this, let me be the first-fear is okay.
As we read scripture and meditate on its meaning for our lives, it is to easy to lose sight of the fact that the people that appear n the pages of Gods word, the characters we find in the accounts of the Lords people were people; real people. They were people who got up in the morning and wondered, just as we do, what the day would bring. They laughed, cried, loved, and had bouts of anger. In short, they were humans with flaws just like us. The most difficult thing to remember is that they did not know how their story would end, they were living it. When we read scripture, we have the gift of knowing how the account ends. David, Moses, Joshua and all the rest lived it, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, and year by year.
Then Midianite traders passed by; so the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.
The verses that serve as the back drop to this weeks post come at the end of Joseph’s journey. Do we honestly believe that Joseph woke up on the back of some slave traders cart, stripped of his belongings, a prisoner and said “hallelujah! Let’s see what happens next!” I seriously doubt it. He was most likely scared, not knowing what was to become of him.
Fear in the face of the unknown , as I said earlier is a human response – expected and okay. Why? because we are human after all and God made us, fear included. I listened to a pastor tell a parishioner recently that the bible grows us up spiritually. This is accomplished by the honesty of the spirit. We see God’s people: their triumphs, tragedies, successes and failures We see it all and the common thread is the grace and mercy of God almighty. He is our deliverer. In Joseph’s case God used his circumstance to pave way for the burgeoning nation of Israel to make their way to Egypt and escape a famine that would have killed them all.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.