Lucia's Blog: GOD MEANT IT FOR GOOD
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

GOD MEANT IT FOR GOOD




"And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive...." Genesis 50:20-21

Joseph had to endure many injustices at the hands of his brothers who were jealous of him because he was his father's favorite.  His father gave him a special coat of many colors which provoked anger among the other siblings.  As a result of this jealousy, Joseph had to endure betrayal and suffering.  Worse yet, Joseph's dreams made them hate him even more.

As a consequence of this jealousy, Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelite traders as a slave.  These slavers sold him to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officials.  In spite of the circumstances, Joseph served as a faithful servant, winning trust and esteem for 7 years. Then everything fell apart for him again.  Potiphar's wife tried to seduce him.  When Joseph refused her, she accused him of taking advantage of her.  Potiphar ended up throwing Joseph into his prison where he had to endure injustice for another seven years.

It is amazing to me that all these injustices were the result of the envy and hatred caused by his brothers.  Do you think that's fair?  In my opinion, if anyone had reason to be bitter, Joseph did.  Finally, after two more years of bondage, he was called before Pharaoh to interpret a dream that he had about a great famine that was going to happen throughout the land.  The extraordinary thing is that Joseph did not mention a word about his injustices, but pointed the Pharaoh to God alone.  It would seem to me that that was his great chance for revenge.  Because of God's favor in his life and his love for God, he was exalted and made second in command in all of Egypt.  He was to be the one in charge of all the food supply and storage for the coming famine.

After 21 years, his brothers heard of the supply of food down in Egypt in the midst of such famine.  Then, Jacob sent the brothers down to Egypt to bring back food.  Eventually, they stood before Joseph not recognizing who he was, because he was dressed like a king.  A lot had changed here.  This was Joseph's big chance to "set things right" and take full revenge.  What would you have done?  Would you, had you been Joseph, have thrown them into prison to let them have a taste of what you had to suffer at their hands?  So often, I hear of  Christians, who have been wronged saying, "I will forgive you, but I will NEVER forget!"

How moving to me are Joseph's words to his brothers when he finally decided to reveal his identity to them.  His words showed the deep and precious work our God had done in his heart through all the years of suffering.  When his brothers finally realized who he was, they panicked.  But to their surprise and relief, Joseph's touching and precious words reassured them of his love for them, "And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good...." Genesis 50:20-21.  What wonderful, moving and precious words these are!   These are words that proceeded from a broken heart, which suggest that all of life's injustices, struggles and sufferings work toward some greater good, for those who love the LORD and are called according to His divine purpose, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for GOOD to those who love God, to THOSE who are called according to His purpose."  Romans 8:28.  Can it be that even the greatest sorrows in our lives can bring goodness or be messengers of GOOD?  As difficult as it might seem, this was a great lesson that Joseph had  to learn through his many, many wounds.  So, let's always keep in our minds and hearts that though men might intend to do evil to us, God means it for good.  He is using all of these wounds, sufferings, injustices and evil to bring us into the perfection of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, "For those whom the LORD loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives."  Hebrews 12:6

So with this in mind, let us always remember that until we see God's hands in our sufferings, we are going to be fleshly, pointing at and blaming our persecutors and offenders, for the wrongs they have done to us.  For those who are not walking according to the likeness of God, there can be no room for pain, discipline and value in wounds.  For them, pain is met with resentment and wounding with retaliation.  This is sad, since there can be no healing until we stop assigning blame and allow God to heal our wounds.  Until we come to realize that "God meant it for good."  We are just never going to be able to forgive our brethren and neighbors UNTIL we come and taste of the goodness of God and His wounds at the cross, Hosea 6:1-3.  Without the wounds of restoration, healing and a renewed heart, there would be no desire to follow God and His marvelous light.  UNTIL we see and come face to face with a realization that the wounds that others have inflicted upon us are not the wounds of our enemies, but of a loving Father, we can never be free of bitterness and resentment.  Not, UNTIL we can honestly say from a sincere heart, "God meant it for good....Faithful are the wounds of a friend,"  we will resist God's love for us through His blows and stripes.  God's wounds are for our healing!  They are for good!  "Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, as do the stripes of the inner depths of the heart."  Proverb 20:30.  There is a parallel here with Isaiah 53:5 "by His stripes we are healed."  It is the Father who controls the scourge. 

Another who had to suffer and was deeply wounded was Paul.  He suffered enormously at the hands of his brethren.  He had every right to be bitter.  However like Joseph, Paul decided to see beyond his wounds and those who afflicted him with suffering.  He understood very well, that the real reasons for his scars, "On my own body are scars that prove  I belong to Christ."  Galatians 6:17.  He saw the stripes that were inflicted upon him, not as evil but as GOOD.  A proof of Christ's ownership, II Corinthians 11:24.  Do you doubt that Paul was bitter about the unfairness and injustice he was treated with?  NOT AT ALL!  "For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my BRETHREN, my kinsmen according to the flesh.  Romans 9:3  Let's make it our ambition to have the heart of Paul and Joseph who sacrificed in order to let those who persecuted them be blessed.  Let us all first search our hearts and be at peace with all men as we go forth proclaiming the Good News of salvation to all men!  

May our Lord help us to have the heart of Paul and Joseph who died to themselves in order to bless those who have wronged them.  May we always remember that no matter how much others have hurt us, wounded us, hated and caused deep pain in us, GOD MEANS IT FOR OUR GOOD.  May we always have a sincere heart that is willing to taste of His goodness and His wounds at the cross  in order to forgive those who have wronged us and be able to be free from bitterness and resentment.

Luci