Reflections: June 28, 2021
Monday of the Fourth Week after Trinity
By Harrison Goodman
"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today." (Genesis 50:20)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Joseph's brothers are afraid. What if life is fair? What if Joseph's mercy is for their father, but not for them? They know what they deserve. They beg him for mercy, and he weeps. Maybe he's remembering all he went through, or is still mourning his father. Maybe he's humbled. Maybe he's just heartbroken that his brothers still don't understand. That's the problem with speechlessness. It leaves us trying to understand the response based on our own feelings. It leaves us to fill in our own answers. We do the same before the Lord. Since His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways, predictably, we usually get it wrong.
God doesn't want us to fill in the silence on our own. Joseph, full of the Holy Spirit, answers his terrified brothers with a promise that comforts us all. "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today."
He tells them the truth. They meant evil for him. Then He points to God, who has a power that nothing in all His creation has. God meant it for good. He took all of their evil and wove a web that would bring good out of it. That doesn't make the evil acceptable or justify those who commit it. Only the Cross can do that. But it highlights the God who will not leave us to the damage we do to each other and ourselves. He works good from our evil. Only God can take something already ruined and bring about something perfect. Look to the passion of our Lord. Evil everywhere, yet God meant it for good, that many people would be justified, kept alive through death, as they are today. The evil is still evil, but it cannot derail God's purpose: that many would be saved. You can see that in the Cross, too. Now evil is forgiven. You are forgiven.There are times we don't see what God is doing yet, and places He's speechless. It's okay to say that. We go first to the Cross, where God speaks. It is finished. You are saved. At the Cross we can understand the places He's silent.
The greatest thing Joseph can tell his brothers is that they aren't the main actors. God is. It means God did this to Joseph. But again, we can find Him nearby--on the Cross. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Be of good cheer; your cause belongs To Him who can avenge your wrongs; Leave it to Him, our Lord. Though hidden yet from mortal eyes, His Gideon shall for you arise, Uphold you and His Word. ("O Little Flock, Fear not the Foe" LSB 666, st.2)
-Rev. Harrison Goodman is the pastor of Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in San Antonio, TX.
He is also the content executive for Higher Things.
He is also the content executive for Higher Things.
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