A Change In Perspective “As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil.” – Genesis 50:20 NLT
I think this is one of the most encouraging verses in the Bible. It is a comforting reminder of the fact that God is in control of the affairs of men. It may not appear that way, but as the saying goes: looks can be deceiving. When all appears lost and your world seems to be caving in all around you, this verse stands as a reminder that God is in control. But it takes a heavenly perspective to see it. Joseph had that perspective. He had learned to see things from God's point of view rather than from his own. He had developed the ability to see God's hand in the affairs of life – even the times when things didn't seem to be turning out too well.
Here, at the end of his long and incredibly remarkable life, he finds himself surrounded by his brothers as they confess the sin they had committed against him so many years before. Their father was now dead and they were afraid that his passing would now give Joseph the freedom to get back at them for their having sold him into slavery decades earlier. They were having a hard time imagining how Joseph could have ever forgiven them for what they had done. In spite of the fact that he was now the second most powerful man in all of Egypt. Even though things had turned out well for Joseph, they thought he was still holding a grudge. But nothing could have been further from the truth. Joseph assured them that their fears were baseless. He told them, "As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil. He brought me to the high position I have today so I could save the lives of many people" (Genesis 50:20 NLT). Joseph knew something his brothers didn't know. He knew that God was in control. He knew that God had been orchestrating the circumstances surrounding his life since the beginning. He knew that God didn't CAUSE his brothers to sell him into slavery, but that God USED their sinful action to accomplish His divine plan. Joseph knew that God was not responsible for their actions, they were. But he also knew that God was responsible for the outcome. What they had intended for evil, God had used for good. But Joseph hadn't just arrived at this conclusion at the end of his life. He had known it for some time. We see him sharing his heavenly perspective all the way back in chapter 45.
But don’t be angry with yourselves that you did this to me, for God did it. He sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. These two years of famine will grow to seven, during which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God has sent me here to keep you and your families alive so that you will become a great nation. Yes, it was God who sent me here, not you! And he has made me a counselor to Pharaoh––manager of his entire household and ruler over all Egypt. – Genesis 45:5-8 NLT
God had sent Joseph to Egypt. He had an ultimate plan for Joseph's life and it was bigger than a single moment in time. It was larger than that dark day when Joseph was betrayed by his brothers. It was big enough to include his false arrest and imprisonment, but not be derailed by it. You might say that God's plan is flexible. It is not that He is surprised by any of our actions and has to improvise, because He is all-knowing and knows ahead of time what we are going to do. But God's plan has always had to include the actions of sinful man. He has had to write His script for the story of redemption with the fact that fallen men and women are involved. But the end of the story remains unchanged. It all turns out right in the end. God is in control. Joseph knew this from experience. He had had dark moments in his life. He had had times when he questioned and doubted. He had asked God the "Why?" questions on more than one occasion. But he had also learned to see God's hand in it all. He had developed a divine perspective. Oh, that I would do the same – to continually learn to see the divine fingerprints all over the pages of my life. To begin to understand that seemingly negative circumstances do not limit my God from accomplishing His will for my life. He has the ability to produce from the most difficult situations positive outcomes and powerful lessons on His faithfulness and love. Our God is large and in charge! He is in control. May we begin to truly see that and believe it in our lives.
Father, give me a divine perspective. Help me to see Your hand in my life. Forgive me when I allow the negative circumstances I encounter to make me doubt Your power and presence. You are there and You are in control. You are working Your divine plan to perfection, even when I can't see it. Give me a growing awareness of the role You are playing in every event surrounding my life. Amen
Ken Miller Grow Pastor & Minister to Men firstname.lastname@example.org