Morning Conversations with GodBible Study: The Providence of God
by William S. Stoddard Share page

“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 50:20)

Read: Genesis 50: 15-20; Deuteronomy 4:39; 1 Chronicles 29:10-12; Romans 8:28; 2 Timothy 4:18.

What is God Saying?

In this moving story, complete, with tears of affection and glad reunion, there is a most memorable example in Scripture, indeed, in history of how God rules and overrules. The devices of men, though spawned in jealousy and hatred, cannot have the upper hand in the end. Horatio Alger’s assorted “rises” to fame and success are not in the same ball park with Joseph who was sold by his jealous brothers into slavery and then rose to incredible responsibility and power as the right hand man of Pharaoh, arch-enemy of the despises “shepherds” of Israel.

This story gives the raw details of the worst humanity. 

It traces without flinching the depths to which jealousy can take us. 

It reveals the unhealthy pride of Joseph, with his shameless airs, rubbing salt into the wound, as he paraded before his brothers in his special robe, flaunting his father’s favoritism.  Like Mother, like son – Rebecca favored Jacob; now Jacob favors Joseph.  It was enough to awaken the worst in his brothers. Parental favoritism is an ugly fact overruled by God.  

It is hard to read this without some sympathy for the less favored brothers of the same father.

God was in control, as He always is.   He put it in the heart of Reuben to save Joseph’s life and the story with such a sordid beginning ends with the tender beauty of forgiveness and love in spite of all intended and actual wrong.  

Once again love covers a multitude of sins.  

Follow this whole story in chapters 39-50 of Genesis.  See the negatives: jealousy, treachery, attempted murder, thoughtless greed, revenge, temptation to lust, famine, sorrow, loss and then in God’s time the surprising joy of reunion. 

In the end God’s will is Good News.

How Does This Apply To Us?

God’s Providence is usually mysterious but always right.  We must guard against envy no matter how easy it is to become its prey.  People make it easy whether it is their vaunted superiority in skills and talents, their affluence, their robust health, or their uncanny ability to come out on top.

We are fortressed by a far greater promise than the temporal and passing trophies that are so prized by others.   We know that “in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).  For now, be assured of this and pray in the confidence that God is still on the throne.   Everything meant to do us evil is another rung on a ladder that lifts us until we see that God means everything – even this – for good.

Pray With Me

God,  Your love never wavers.    Your wisdom is without flaw. Forgive me that I have at times questioned your mysterious providence. With Israel I have said, “My way is hid from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God” (Isaiah 40:27).

The spiritual dead seem to live.   The clever imposters seem to get away with it.  The dishonest brothers seem to have their way.  They seem to be on top of things.  Joseph is sold into slavery and sent away.

Is justice really blind?  Does honesty really pay?  Is love only the refuge of the weak?  In doing good is one done in?  It must have seemed so to Joseph, many times.

But in the end Joseph could see that man intended evil can become God-intended good.  So from the perspective of Heaven I shall see that “everything God works for good with those who love Him”, and even now, when all is still and I am deeply trusting in Your Word, I know this is true.

I affirm in faith the fact that nothing escapes  Your overruling providence.  Things change, times change, friends change, I change, but Lord, You do not change.

Nothing can stray into my life, or weigh on my heart, or prey on my mind, or stay my determined step without Your knowledge and permissive will.  I trust Your love.  I want to walk in Your paths of righteousness.  Then everything that comes into my life, even when “meant for evil,” will be woven into the final pattern of everlasting good.

Through Jesus Christ,   who endured the cross to wear the crown. Amen.

Moving On In The Life Of Prayer

When things look and feel their worst, and when everything is going against us, it is time to pray for a quiet acceptance of God’s will and a deep trust in His wise Providence. 

He understands and He overrules.


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Used with permission. From the book: First Light: Morning Conversations with God.

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