Stripped and trembling with cold, I stood on the auction block in Egypt after many days of horror, pain and fear. In despair, I questioned my father’s belief in a loving God who cares for us. Was that true?
“If you love me,” I challenged God, “look at me. My own brothers gave vent to their hatred for me, threw me into a pit, planned to kill me, and stayed deaf to my frantic pleas for help. Next was that dismal ride in the Midianite caravan where my brothers sold me as a slave.” My doubts escalated.
Many rough, cruel looking men, bid to own me as a slave. Finally a kind-looking man in military uniform gave the highest bid. So this man was my new master, instead of those other dubious bidders. What a lucky break! What a stroke of good fortune! Only I knew it wasn’t luck. God had a hand in it.
My new master, captain of the king’s guard, took me into his spacious home. It was more of a break than I had realized at first as he kindly helped me adjust to this strange culture, unknown language and homesickness that threatened to overwhelm me.
Although he believed in other gods, he saw that God was with me. Before long he turned over the entire care of his household to me. Life improved.
Then I had a shock, a really bad break. His wife became infatuated with me and tried to seduce me. When I fled from her, she grabbed my robe and later showed it as proof when she lied to her husband that I had tried to take advantage of her. He believed her. I was thrown into prison.
Life in the dungeon was dreary, cold and uncomfortable, but before long the jail keeper recognized that God was with me and gave me another break. He put me in charge of all the prisoners. Time passed. One day, with God’s help, I interpreted the dreams of two prisoners. The interpretations proved true, I thought that news might help to get me out of prison. Instead, two years passed.
Then Pharaoh, the ruler of all Egypt, had two dreams which no one could interpret for him, so I was summoned into his presence and asked to interpret the dreams.
“I can’t,” I confessed. “Interpretations belong to God.” But God revealed to me the meaning of the dreams, seven years of plenty, followed by seven years of famine. Pharaoh was impressed and ordered that, since I could see the problems ahead, he would give me carte blanche in resolving them. All in one day, I was catapulted from a dungeon, into the second place in the kingdom. Instead of prison rags, I was given the finest of clothing. The king gave me his signet ring and gold chain. The finest of chariots was at my disposal. My word was to be law.
The seven years of plenty were busy years as I stockpiled the grain. Then came the years of famine and suddenly, my own brothers stood before me, asking to buy grain unaware that I was their brother. I tested them to see if their hearts were still as dark and sinful as they had been. When their first purchase of grain ran out, they came again. This time, as I had insisted, they brought my youngest brother to prove they weren’t spies.
Then, painful as it had been, I realized that God engineered the plan. I remembered the two dreams I had years before where my whole family bowed to me. Now it was about to come true. So, if God had formulated the plan, how could I refuse to forgive my brothers for their part, even though it seemed sinful at the time? I couldn’t. I didn’t. I stood before them and announced, “I am Joseph, your brother.”
Their consternation was enormous. Fear registered on every face as they visualized the vengance I might wreak. Quickly I told them. “You meant this for evil but God meant this for good. Now go and get your father and bring him here to live in Egypt.”
So my last break was the greatest of all. After all the years of separation I embraced my father again.
Without realizing it, I had been a classic example of with what a man of God would declare many years later, “All things work together for good to them that love God.”
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