By Brother George
Has someone or someones badly wronged you? Have you been the victim of a terrible injustice? Has your life been devastated by illness, bereavement or some other personal crisis and you feel that what is happening to you is just plain wrong and unfair? These types of circumstances occur to most of us at one time or another. But did you know that there are times when you can find that what you at first thought was dead wrong can actually be perfectly right for you? How can this be? The story of Joseph found in the book of Genesis offers a perfect example.
Joseph was the spoiled son of his Hebrew patriarch Jacob, who was a landowner in ancient Hebron, about 40km south of modern day Jerusalem. His ten older brothers, jealous of their father’s favouritism towards him and angered by Joseph’s haughty attitude, sold him to foreign traders, covering up their crime by claiming to their father that Joseph has been killed by a wild beast. Joseph was eventually sold by the traders to an Egyptian master about 1000km away from his homeland. A very long distance in those days of about 4000 years ago. To make matters worse, in spite of his earning great admiration and responsibility from his master due to his great character and diligent work, he was falsely accused of sexual assault by the master’s vindictive wife, whose sexual advances Joseph had refused. As ‘payment’ for his loyalty to his boss, who happened to be the captain of Pharaoh’s guards, poor Joseph was wrongly convicted and wound up rotting in an Egyptian jail, alone, separated from his family, friends and country and no doubt wondering how his life could have possibly gone so wrong.
But Joseph kept his faith, trusting in God in spite of his circumstances, and eventually God intervened in miraculous ways and used those ‘wrongs’ to bring about some incredible ‘rights’.
While in jail, Joseph conducted himself so nobly that the warden put him completely in charge of all the other prisoners. Eventually his excellent character and his ability to interpret the meaning of dreams was brought to the attention of Pharaoh himself. Joseph was summoned before the ruler to reveal the meanings of two very troubling dreams he had that Pharaoh’s own wise men and counsellors failed to interpret. Receiving revelatory wisdom from God, Joseph correctly interpreted the dreams to mean that seven prosperous years would be followed by seven years of dire famine and advised Pharoah to prepare by setting aside in storage a certain percentage of the prosperous year’s harvest in order to feed the people during the coming famine.
Pharaoh, sensing that the spirit of God was with Joseph, took the advice, immediately freed him from jail, appointed him the overseer of the survival project and proclaimed him the most senior official in his kingdom. In the blink of an eye, Joseph went from a convicted criminal languishing in a foreign jail to the second most powerful man on earth! What amazing divine intervention!
Joseph’s prediction proved true and his wise management of the harvest saved the kingdom from starvation during the seven years of famine. But that was not all. He was also able to provide for his own family who faced starvation back home in Hebron, eventually reuniting with them by arranging for them to immigrate to Egypt and resettle on the most fertile land in the region. And he also found it within himself to forgive his brothers who had terribly wronged him, saying these famous words that have reverberated through the generations and have been an inspiration and comfort to countless people ever since ‘As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good’ Genesis 50:20
What a wonderful example that truly ‘all things work together for good to those who love God’ Romans 8:28 and that what may at first seem terribly ‘wrong’ might in fact end up being completely ‘right’ for us.
Ps; You can read the whole dramatic story in chapters 37-50 of the book of Genesis.