22 Joseph stayed in Egypt, along with all his father’s family. He lived 110 years. 23 He lived long enough to see Ephraim’s children and grandchildren. When the children of Makir were born, they were placed on Joseph’s knees and counted as his own children. Makir was the son of Manasseh. 24 Joseph said to his brothers, “I’m about to die. But God will surely come to help you. He’ll take you up out of this land. He’ll bring you to the land he promised to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” 25 Joseph made the Israelites promise him. He said, “God will surely come to help you. Then you must carry my bones up from this place.” 26 So Joseph died at the age of 110. They prepared his body to be buried. Then he was placed in a casket in Egypt.
This is amongst my favourite passages of the Bible! If you have been reading along in Genesis with us, you would know that Joseph’s life had been marked with pain, shame and disaster; and all of it can be traced back to the evil actions of his brothers who sold him as a young man into slavery.
But that is not the full story, if you have been following along you would also know that Joseph’s life has been marked by immense favour from God. He has been raised up to numerous prominent positions and now stands only second the Pharaoh of Egypt!
Four things strike me:
- Divine favour does not exclude suffering. I am currently reading Revelation and the whole book is kind of written to say the same thing but the other way around – “yes you may be suffering now, but that doesn’t mean you have lost the divine favour over your life!”
- God never creates evil, people create evil.
- God intends good, and those good plans are not stopped by humanity’s evil. In fact, some how they become part of the glorious good God is doing!
- This is one of the reasons I can forgive people for evil done to me.
Lord God, the day of evil’s defeat is coming, the day is coming where death itself is destroyed. Until that day, while I still share this earth with evil, I know that evil will not stop you from doing wonderful good in me and through me to all those around me! Lead me into forgiving those who hurt me and trusting you who leads me. Amen.
Written by Andrew Mellor