Read: Genesis 50: 15-21
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20) In God’s hands intended evil becomes eventual good. In the story of Joseph, no one can deny the presence of evil…jealousy, thoughts of murder, rejection, tears, pain, heartache, lying. Just when it looked like Joseph might get a break there is yet another moment of pain. Yet time and time again God redeemed the pain. The very acts intended to destroy God’s servant turned out to strengthen him. “You meant evil against me,” Joseph told his brothers, using a Hebrew verb that traces its meaning to “weave” or “plait.” “You wove evil,” he was saying, “but God rewove it together for good.” God, the Master Weaver. Sometimes, in the tapestry of life it seems as if there are lots of loose threads and strings hanging in random directions. Only the Master Weaver knows what the finished product will become, while we only see how perfectly the pieces fit together once each part is completed. Remember, God sees the finished product, and He is making a beautiful and wondrous work of your life.
God you are good. That is your character. You can not be good. In your hands, intended evil becomes eventual good. Thank you for your goodness to me.
OPTIONAL WORSHIP ‘The Goodness of God’ by Bethel Music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0FBb6hnwTo
Read: Genesis 49: 8-12
Of all Jacob’s twelve sons, for some reason God chooses Judah – the fourth in line. The blessing says “your brothers shall praise you”. As the fourth son, there is no earthly reason for his praise except that God has chosen him to be. The choice of Judah over all the other brothers is a bit of a mystery, and the Bible does not give an explicit reason for it. Judah is far from righteous (refer to Genesis 38….it’s scandalous!). Judah’s character did improve and he offered himself as a slave instead of Benjamin. But I kind of think Joseph would have been a better choice! But Judah was God’s choice. Judah’s mother Leah was not who Jacob had initially intended to marry. She lived her life feeling unwanted, undesired and unloved. She must have been in a lot of emotional anguish as reflected in the names that she gave her children. After her firstborn son, Reuben (meaning “See, a Son”) she thought Now my husband will love me. Her second son, Simeon means “God has heard that I was hated.” Then she conceived a third son and called him Levi “because I have given my husband a third son, he will live with me now.” She was consumed with her plight, and all her prayers were focused on trying to get God to end her pain. But then something very powerful happened. She became pregnant again and gave birth to a son and said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children. It was at this moment that Leah turned her attention away from her pain, even though it had not been resolved, and decided to praise God anyway. Sacrificial praise in the midst of agony is spiritual dynamite. Think about Paul and Silas in jail (Acts 16). After they have been stripped and beaten with rods they were put in an inner cell and their feet were fastened in stocks. Do they cry? Complain? No! They SING! They sing praises to God, so loud that the whole jail can hear them. And what happens? An earthquake! Prisoners come to faith, doors swing open, and even the jailer repents and brings his whole family to accept Jesus as Lord. That’s dynamite! God delights in a voluntary sacrifice of praise in the midst of hardship. It expresses honor, love and trust to God. God decided that Judah’s tribe would be the ancestor of David, and ultimately the Messiah. Leah’s costly heart-change while still in great pain was so powerful and pleasing to God that he gave the honor of his scepter to the one whose very name means “praise”.
Even if you are going through a tough situation, God is worthy of praise and doing so takes our eyes off our situation and puts them on our Lord and Saviour.
OPTIONAL WORSHIP ‘Praise You in the Storm’ by Casting Crowns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YUGwUgBvTU
Read: Chapter 48: 17-20
When Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons he crossed his arms to place his right hand on Ephraim’s head and his left hand on Manasseh’s head. Joseph tried to correct him since Manasseh was the elder but his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know.” Sometimes what we expect is not what happens. Isaiah 55:8-9 says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” John Piper says, “Unless we relate the thoughts and ways of God in verse 8 of Isaiah 55 with the thoughts and ways of evil men in verse 7, we will miss the sense of the passage and what God wants us to hear. Verse 7 says: “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord for mercy . . .” Why? Because (verse 8) God’s thoughts and God’s ways are not wicked and not unrighteous. In fact they are as far above our evil thoughts and our evil ways as the heaven is above the earth. The point of verses 8 and 9 is to stress the tremendous need that we have of seeking God. Only when we seek God can we overcome this Grand Canyon of separation between God’s ways and our ways and God’s thoughts and our thoughts. Only when we seek the Lord can we begin to have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16) and the mind of the Spirit (Romans 8:6). Just before these verses it says in verse 6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.”
Everybody needs to call upon the Lord—to seek the Lord right now while he may be found. Some need to call on him for salvation (Romans 10:13). Some need to call on him for help in overcoming an evil way or an unrighteous thought. And some need to call on him for counsel and guidance. Seek the Lord and call upon him now.
Read: Chapter 47:13, 27-31; Genesis 48:1-4
By God’s design and Joseph’s planning, Jacob and his household had settled in Goshen, the “best of the land.” While others suffered under the devastating famine, God’s people prospered and multiplied greatly. The Egyptians surrendered their land, but the Israelites “acquired property.” The account of God’s care for His people reinforces God’s earlier promise to Abraham that his descendants would become a great nation, recipients of God’s blessing and be a blessing to the entire world. God was keeping His promise to Abraham, building His people into a nation in the midst of a hostile environment. The Israelites survived, thrived and multiplied by God’s grace. Given the harshness of the famine, this report represents the supernatural intervention of God on their behalf. And now Jacob (Israel), at age 147 years, is nearing the end of his life and he calls Joseph to himself. His words to Joseph are a testimony of the faithfulness of His Heavenly Father to him. He praised God as his personal shepherd, all the days of his life. He recognized God’s constant presence and timely deliverance. Jacob challenged Joseph, “I am about to die, but God will be with you.” An imperfect earthly father praised His perfect, heavenly Father, who had not failed him one day of his challenging life. If you are in a place where you find it difficult to know you are so dearly loved, perhaps because of an earthly father that has not loved you as well, know that even if your human father failed you, your Heavenly Father will not. No one can love you like your Heavenly Father.
Thank you, God, that knowing you as my Father brings my life purpose and security. I know that I can come to you confidently just as I am. Thank you that your love is not based on my performance or worthiness. Help me believe that you eagerly want me to call on You and You long to bless me in ways that matter most. Help me to trust that whatever life brings, You, Father, will work for my good, that You will lovingly withhold things that are not good for me and will give me what I need because You are a good Father.
Read: Genesis 46: 3-4, 26-27
Scripture lists Jacob’s family members who left Canaan to live in Egypt. Genesis 46:27 gives the number of Israelite men in Egypt as 70 in total. They were going to live in Goshen which was probably situated at the eastern part of the Nile delta. It was “the best part of the land” and provided excellent pasture for grazing. Goshen’s fertile soil would enable them to grow crops after the famine ended. Their location in Goshen also separated them from the Egyptians, who found shepherds detestable. In addition, the land gave room for the amazing God-ordained explosion of their population. It was 430 years later that a nation of more than 600,000 men plus women and children were delivered from slavery in Egypt to return to Canaan, the Promised Land. It is amazing to see how God had been at work in different ways and in different lives to preserve His people. Instead of perishing in the famine, Jacob and his family were welcomed into Egypt and would multiply and flourish. God had called Joseph to lead through very challenging times. He had to make hard decisions to uphold the greater good of many. He instituted policies that might appear harsh, but he also protected Egypt from disaster and provided a fair distribution of food. God sometimes puts us in situations where every option seems unpleasant. Sometimes what is needed for the benefit of all outweighs what is needed for me. God seeks the common good – the greater good – in everything He allows in our lives. An easy path with obvious decisions and no obstacles is not the proof of God’s will; facing an extremely challenging situation does not mean you are out of God’s will. What questions are you wrestling with that have no easy answers? Trust God’s wisdom. Will you believe that He has allowed you to be where you are and rely on His faithfulness to reveal the way He wants you to go? Can you trust God to accomplish the greater good in a situation that feels bad?**
Ask God to help you trust Him and His wisdom in your life. Praise Him that He is at work in your life to accomplish a greater good, even if you can’t see that right now.
**Bible Study Fellowship, Genesis, 2021