Today’s Reading: Genesis 50:15-21
Daily Lectionary: Judges 6:25-40; Acts 15:6-21
“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 hated him. They hated his dreams, his coat, his status as the favorite, and they especially hated his tattling. The brothers hated him, so they cast him into a dry well, sold him into slavery in Egypt, and convinced their father that he had been killed by a wild animal. In Egypt, Joseph was wrongly accused and placed in prison. At the death of Jacob, the sins of the brothers were once more brought to remembrance, and Joseph was finally free to pay them back for their mistreatment.
Our sinful flesh understands vengeance. We cling to it. We naturally react to hurt and to pain by lashing out at those who wronged us. We feel a need to get even. We want our pound of flesh and to give back as good as we got. So it is not a surprise that Joseph’ s brothers were worried. As the second-most powerful man in all Egypt, Joseph was capable of doing anything he wished to settle the score.
However, by faith and the working of the Holy Spirit, Joseph clearly saw the good that had come about in his life because of his brothers’ actions. In the midst of great evil, God had worked through His servant Joseph to bring about the salvation of his people. Joseph did not negate the sins of his brothers, but he was willing to forgive them. This forgiveness came only by the grace and mercy that God had first given to Joseph. In 1 John 4:19 we are told that, “We love because God first loved us.” And this love comes by the blood of Jesus shed on the Cross for all of our sins. Joseph knew the promise of the coming of the Messiah; he awaited it. And it was this faith that enabled him to forgive and to love those brothers who had done such evil to him.
You, too, are loved by God. Always remember that for those who love God, “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). These words bring us comfort and peace as we live in a world filled with evil and sin. No matter what problems we face, our heavenly Father will work it out for our good because of Jesus.
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Heavenly Father, help us to remember that Your almighty hand works all things for our good, not only here and now, but forever in heaven. Amen.
-Rev. William K. Stottlemyer is pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hancock, MD.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Christians need to aspire to being people of THE faith. Not just any will do. In Faith Misused, Dr. Alvin Schmidt shares his case for a Christian reclaiming of the word “faith” from its ambiguous modern uses. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.