Today’s Bible reading shows us that Joseph sees the big picture of his purpose and calling. If you remember back to our introduction to Joseph as a young man in Genesis 37:5, he told his brothers about his dream of his brothers and his father bowing down to him. His brothers hated him so much they sold him to some Ishmaelites, who then sold him to Potiphar in Egypt. Hate can drive people to do some very hateful things!
After he rejected Mrs. Potiphar’s sexual advances, he was thrown in jail. Finally, he interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and was placed in authority over Egypt; only Pharaoh was a higher authority than Joseph. For seven years, Joseph stores up 20% of the grain produced in Egypt in order to get them (and the surrounding countries) through seven years of famine. The famine extends north into Canaan. Two years into the famine Joseph’s brothers hear that Egypt is selling grain so they go to buy some. That takes us up to yesterday’s reading.
Today, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers and explains that he sees the big picture: God’s Sovereign Hand has been on him through all of these years and God sovereignty placed him in his position in order to provide for his father Jacob/Israel, his brothers, and all of their families. When Pharaoh learns that all of Jacob’s family has arrived, he gives them the best land for their flocks and their families to live for the duration of the famine. This short duration extended to four hundred years. But more on that later.
Joseph could have scolded his brothers for how they sold him to the Ishmaelite traders. He could have griped about all of the years he was imprisoned, all of which could have been avoided if they had not hated him enough to sell him into slavery. At least, I think I would have responded that way!
But Joseph doesn’t do any of that. Instead, he forgives his brothers and graciously explains that all of this is God’s doing. Later he will say that what they planned for evil, God planned for good. (Genesis 50:20 CSB)
When your world seems to be falling apart around you, do you step back to try to see the big picture? Do you ask God for His perspective? Joseph did. And as he did, he saw that all of the hardship was worth it in order for him to be where he was in the perfect timing.
Regardless of how things may look, God’s Sovereign Hand has always been on you and is on you now. Ask Him to show you the big picture. And even if He doesn’t, it may not be the right time for you to see it. But there is a big picture.