“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them. Genesis 50:20–21
They were a sorry lot. Joseph’s brothers were well aware of their shady past—the gossiping and complaining, the plotting and selling their younger brother into slavery, followed by years of lying and denial while Joseph lived in a distant, pagan land. Now that their father had died, they were worried Joseph might seek revenge. Begging him for mercy was their only plausible option.
Apparently they still didn’t know their younger brother. Though their deeds had been vile, Joseph had flourished under Your divine guidance. And Joseph was ready to repay them—not with the vengeance and punishment they deserved, but with the same kindness and goodness that You, God, had shown him.
It’s Your incredible story of mercy and forgiveness, of seeing beyond the immediate situation to the eternal perspective—a story that I see again in the life of You, Jesus. Unlike Joseph, You were perfect. Yet the people You came to save plotted against You, cursed and killed You. Like Joseph, You saw beyond the evil done to You to the supremely sovereign and good hand of Your Father, God. Joseph’s hard-learned truth rang even more powerfully through Your sacrifice: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
What painful circumstances surround your life today? Will you see yourself as a victim of misfortune, or will you find the hand of your Savior using your troubles for a greater good?
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Genesis 22:2
Surely it was too much to ask. How could You tell Abraham to offer up his only son—to kill the one person who meant the world to him as an offering to You? But Abraham didn’t question. He even got up early the next morning to obey—not because he was eager to do the task, but because he trusted You, the One who was leading him.
How do I know? Because he told the servants who accompanied he and Isaac on their three–day journey to wait in the distance, while he and Isaac went alone to worship You. “We will come back,” Abraham said. Hebrews 11:19 tells us that “Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead.” Though the calling was hard, Abraham knew that You had promised future blessing through Isaac. In whatever way You would choose to act, Abraham was certain that You would provide—and keep Your promise.
You, Jesus shared the same confidence as You made Your way to Your designated place of sacrifice. Only this time, God did not intervene. You, Jesus, God’s only Son, died to atone for sin once and for all. Your were God’s sacrifice for his estranged children, the only way to reconciliation. Though the calling seemed too great, You obeyed because of the promise set before You: Your Father would raise You on the third day. God would exalt You to the highest place at his right hand, putting everything else under Your rule. And Your kingdom—filled with the redeemed from every tribe, language, people and nation—would enjoy Your kingship forever. The cost was incredibly high, but the fellowship and glory You have with the Father is forever worth it.
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak . . . So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” Genesis 32:24,30
Jacob had sent his servants, his livestock, and even his wives and children ahead of him. Many years earlier, Jacob had twice taken advantage of his twin brother Esau—manipulating him to acquire his birthright and then deceiving their father to receive the firstborn’s blessing. Now Esau was coming to meet Jacob.
Whatever his motivation, Jacob was alone, as he had been when he was running away from Esau’s wrath and You, God, appeared to him at Bethel (see Genesis 28:10–22). The clamor of cattle and children, dueling wives and the general everyday chaos grew distant. Jacob was left in silence to wrestle with his thoughts. To rehash past mistakes—and regrets. To remember the undeserved promise of blessing You had made to him at Bethel.
And the fight began. This time, quite literally, as a mysterious “man” came and wrestled with Jacob all night long—a physical embodiment of the mental and spiritual turmoil Jacob had experienced with You most of his life. Jacob fought with all his might to receive a blessing already promised him. And it was granted.
Like Jacob, my life is often filled with people and pursuits that distract me just enough to ignore the battle with You raging in my heart. When I still the noise and steal away to meet You face to face, I am finally free to confront my deepest fears and misgivings, even about You. You aren’t afraid to take on my honesty. In fact, it’s through face-to-face engagement that I begin to experience the blessing that was meant to be mine all along.
Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lordby doing what is right and just, so that the Lordwill bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.” Genesis 15:5‑6
Your promise was great. You, God, chose Abraham to become the father of a nation so powerful that the whole world would be blessed through him. But Your requirement seemed too small. Could this magnanimous blessing truly become Abraham’s simply by believing You?
The answer was “Yes!”—not only for Abraham, but for all the children who followed in his footsteps of faith. Later in Scripture, Paul wrote to the Galatians explaining the Genesis passages in more depth. Abraham’s heritage wasn’t limited to Jews. Your promise for salvation extended to all, including me, who relied by faith on Your one provision for humankind: Your son, Jesus Christ, my Savior.
So now that I have become a child of Abraham through faith in Christ, what must I do? Keep believing You! Faith in Your goodness and provision yields a life surrendered to Your Spirit, filled with the fruit of Your presence in me. What will that fruit look like?“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22–23).This is fruit that continues to my family, friends and everyone and point them in the same heavenward direction.