Those who settle this issue become eternally useful and unbelievably satisfied. They are the heroes in this life who have come to embrace these 32 words:
“Am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:19-20 NASB).
An Unlikely Hero
The story of Joseph is given in the last chapters of the first book of the Bible. And well it should be. It is a seminal story of faith, forgiveness, and the faithfulness of God. It sets the standard for successful living and leadership.
I won’t rehearse the story (read it in Genesis 37–50), but the closing chapter is the stunning plot twist of a breathtaking movie. Joseph’s life was filled with betrayal and loss at the hands of his own family and friends and (it would seem to most) God Himself. Joseph had every human reason to be bitter.
But Joseph saw life from a higher perspective. He believed that God was sovereignly moving, even in and through the hands of fallen men and failing circumstances. And he believed that God could be trusted.
Joseph understood his place. He was not God. He couldn’t see the future. So, better to trust the One who could.
Joseph believed that when you follow God fully, He will orchestrate that which could never be scripted or dreamed. Isaiah, and later Paul, would both say it like this: “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9; cf. Isaiah 64:4).
God took Joseph from the pit and from prison, and lifted him to the second highest position of power and influence in the known world. God had an agenda. He always does.
It was not merely to bless a faithful, trusting servant. His purpose was to save people. Even the men who betrayed Joseph would become the target of God’s protective and providing love.
And Joseph was good with that. Like the Savior he foreshadowed, Joseph was willing to embrace the path of sacrifice, substitution, and self-denial if it would bring life to others.
Joseph had settled the purpose for which he lived. It was not for pleasure, power, or possessions. He lived to be used, in his brief chapter, as an instrument of redemption for others in the sovereign hand of a surprising God.
Such a man is mightily usable to God—content in this life, and rewarded in the life to come.