Discover His heart: The guidance of His hand is just, merciful and good
Ah…the sweetness of reconciliation! Books have been written about it, movies have portrayed its beautiful stories, and most of us have experienced it. Outside of the amazing, and I do mean amazing, reconciliation with God that takes place when we accept Jesus as our Savior, the story of Joseph and his brothers tops the list for me. “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place…God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you!” (45:4-8)
Not only is this a story of reconciliation, but it is a strong and deliberate message about the providence of God, the intervention of the Divine into our lives to bring about His purposes for our good. “So it was God who sent me here, not you!” When Joseph forgave his brothers and reconciled with them, he partnered with God’s will to bring about God’s Divine plan for a nation. Our obedience to the Word of God has ramifications beyond our imagination. Had Joseph refused to forgive, God would have sought another vessel to accomplish His good.
@ Genesis 46
“I am God, the God of your father,’ the voice said. ‘Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again.’” (3-4) I can only imagine the hesitancy in Jacob’s heart to leave Canaan, the land promised to his grandfather, Abraham, for the heathen land of Egypt. When we think about it, this move changed the history of Israel.
Settled in their Promised Land, Abraham’s family was growing in size, wealth and power, and it just seems as though carting them off to Egypt for 400 years was somewhat counterproductive to God’s divine plan for His people. After all, He could have abundantly blessed Jacob in spite of the famine years and brought the nations of the world to him. In the natural, without the impact of the supernatural, we might wonder about His purpose in this.
Because of the move to Egypt, the Israelites would one day migrate back to Canaan and spend many years in war with the occupants of Canaan who had also grown powerful over the past 400 years. But this is where we are challenged to trust the hand of God even when we don’t understand it. Early on when God promised Abraham a son, He foretold of events to come, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years…After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction.” (15:13-16)
God could not yet give Abraham his entire inheritance because He is just. Abraham’s neighbors in Canaan did not believe in Jehovah, but God gave them 400 years to choose Him over their witchcraft and idols before He allowed Israel to destroy them for their wickedness. In the meantime, the family of Abraham was ever growing in numbers over in Goshen, all their needs were provided, and He was making them ready to step into their destiny.
Sometimes the hand of God in our lives seems to be without purpose and direction in life’s economy. We may question what the kingdom of God gains through our loss, our dysfunction or our trial? Well, so often we just don’t know, but through His Word, we understand all that He does is just, merciful and good for us as well as all others who live and breathe on the planet. As He was with the Israelites in Egypt, so will He be with us in our Egypt. “I will go with you down to Egypt…”
Moving Forward: In my obedience to Him today, I know I can trust His hand to guide me with justice, mercy, and goodness. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts…And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” (Isaiah 55:8)
Tomorrow @ I Samuel 6-10