God Is Good
There’s a common interchange that goes on between Christians all over the world. It goes like this.
God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.
It’s a simple, straightforward statement that’s usually said with a smile. It’s often said after something good happens as an expression of praise to God. Other times it’s said as a general statement of worship. How often do you think it’s said after something bad happens? I would guess not so much. But if we understand how God is good, we should say it even then.
I think this was something Joseph learned to say even after something bad happened to him. Of all the people in the Bible, Joseph is one of the least likely to be our model for understanding that God is good. Yet he is!
How God Was Good To Joseph
The amazing thing about Joseph was his ability to see that God is good when others might not. Joseph endured and overcame three trials, any one of which would have shipwrecked the faith of most people.
- His brothers planned to kill him but instead sold him as a slave. Genesis 37:18-21
- His master’s wife falsely accused him resulting in his imprisonment. Genesis 39:11-18
- A man who could have set him free from prison forgot about him. Genesis 40:20-23
The first two of these situations were clearly brought on by evil motives. How could Joseph see any good in those circumstance? I don’t think he did. The good was not in the circumstances but in the outcome. Each of these made Joseph’s life worse for a while. But each one resulted in a good outcome.
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- Joseph’s life as a slave was better than death. God then blessed him so that he was favored by his master above all other slaves.
- Joseph went to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Again God gave him favor with the prison warden and greater responsibility.
- The forgetful cup-bearer remembered Joseph at a key time. His imprisonment was replaced by exaltation from Pharaoh.
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Some have noted that each step in Joseph’s life prepared him for the next. He first learned to manage sheep. Then he learned to manage a wealthy household. Next he learned to manage a prison. All of that prepared him to manage the nation of Egypt.
When Joseph’s brothers begged for forgiveness after their father Israel died, here is what Joseph said to them,
Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 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 50:19-21
There is no satisfying answer to the question, “Why does God allow evil, pain and suffering?” We all experience them. Joseph shows us it’s possible to see God bring a good outcome from what others intend as evil. Don’t let the evil that happens to you blind you so that you miss seeing that God is good, all the time.
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