Evil for Good

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 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 50:19-21

“Sing with me!” I said to my kids as I quickly turned up the radio to my favorite part of the song:

You take what the enemy meant for evil
And You turn it for good
You turn it for good

“Do you know what part of the Bible these lyrics are from?” I asked into the rearview mirror as I turned the volume down a bit. I offered up clues as they shouted out guesses, and they got it: the story of Joseph. 

Betrayed by his brothers, sold into slavery, imprisoned wrongly… For years, there were awful, unfair things that happened in Joseph’s life. But God was with him, God was working, and God used the series of events to save many lives. 

As I looked up the Scripture reference that night, I was struck by the direct parallel to Jesus. Many intended to harm him. Many probably thought they had. But God had intended it for good, to accomplish what was done, the saving of many lives. And no longer do we need to live in fear, because we have been provided for, us and our children.

While primarily the story of Joseph foreshadows the story of Jesus, I also think it should be encouraging to us to be able to expect good things from bad situations. You take what the enemy meant for evil, and you turn it for good… except sometimes I sing in desperation as I look at circumstances and question, will you really? Are you even here? Are you still good? 

But He has to be.  

He said he works all things for good. So he has to move. He said he will never leave us. So he can’t. He said he is holy. So he can not sin.

God specifically purposed the series of events in Joseph’s life for good, for the saving of lives from the famine that was to come.

And he specifically purposed the series of events in his son’s life, for the saving of souls from the judgment that was before them. 

He provided physical bread for a generation through Joseph, and he provided the Bread of Life for all generations through Jesus.

God never scrambled to figure out a solution. He never left his children to fend for themselves, he never changed his mind, and he never walked away.  The plan was always salvation.

And that is the confidence we hold to today. God did what he said. He initiated it, and he finished it. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. And he is faithful. Forever. Because that is who he is. 

We don’t have to understand what he’s doing, and we’re usually foolish to try and predict. But that’s fine. That doesn’t have to be our concern. Because what we can cling to is the One who clings to us. The One who has us, the Word who became flesh and stood in our place and went all the way for us. Because of that, we can trust that when God used evil for good in the life of Joseph all the way back in Genesis, he will still use evil for good in our lives as well.  

Regardless of talent level, regardless of circumstances, we can sing with assurance –

You take what the enemy meant for evil
And You turn it for good
You turn it for good

Because that is who He is.

—–

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21

—–

Respond: If you don’t already have a running list of God’s faithfulness in your own life, start one. If you have one, go through it and praise God for the way you have seen him bring good from bad. Praise him for salvation and for being the recipient of goodness from the death of his son. Praise him for his character and for being the trustworthy, holy God he is.

Sing: Elevation Worship, See a Victory

Listen: Sermon – Tim Keller, The Hiddenness of God

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