By Patrick Hogan
The story of Joseph, recorded in Genesis, is familiar to many people. One interesting aspect of Joseph's experiences is his response to them. His experiences include the following: He is Jacob's favorite son, which produces resentment in the minds of his brothers. Their resentment builds to the point of hatred. They sell him into slavery. Joseph is separated from his family and taken to Egypt. He is falsely accused by Potiphar's wife and imprisoned. He is forgotten by Pharaoh's butler and remains in prison for two additional years. Finally he is freed and exalted to the second most important position in all of Egypt. These years of disappointment and frightening situations could have caused him to become bitter, hateful and vengeful.
Instead of these negative reactions, Joseph is able to forgive his brothers. When they come to Egypt seeking food, they are eventually reunited with Joseph. His comment to them, recorded in Genesis 45:4-8, reveals a remarkable attitude. When his brothers were afraid that Joseph would avenge himself against them, he reassured them with these words: "I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved nor angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life." After the death of their father, Joseph again reassured them: "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 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" (50:19-21). Joseph could see that even in adversity and undesirable circumstances, God was working to bring about good that could not be foreseen during the suffering.
From Joseph's words we can take a valuable lesson. Even in our darkest hours, God is at work to bring about results that we cannot image (see Romans 8:28). In whatever circumstance we find ourselves, let us resolve that we will continue to trust God and be faithful to Him.
- Patrick Hogan serves as a minister and elder of the Shady Acres church of Christ, in Sikeston, MO. He may be contacted through the church's website at http://www.shadyacreschurch.com
Monday, July 5, 2010
Attitude Make a Difference
By Patrick Hogan