God Takes Care of His People
"But as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive." (Genesis 50:20)
In the book of Genesis there are many different stories that tell us about the nation of Israel. To begin with, God promised Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation. Abraham had a son named Isaac, and when Isaac became a man and got married, he had twin sons – Jacob and Esau. Jacob grew up and got married, and he had twelve sons of his own. Eventually, the families of these twelve sons grew into the twelve tribes of Israel.
But back to Jacob's twelve sons: Out of these twelve, Jacob had a favorite – Joseph. To show his high regard for Joseph, Jacob gave him a beautiful coat, often referred to as the "coat of many colors." Jacob's other sons were jealous of Joseph because their father gave Joseph many gifts and because Joseph was the son set to become head of the family (even though normally the oldest son would have become the head of the family).
One day, Jacob sent his sons out to take care of the sheep – all of his sons except Joseph and Benjamin, that is. After his sons had been gone for several days, Jacob wanted to send food to them in Dothan, so he sent Joseph. As Joseph made his way to the place where his brothers were camped, they saw him in the distance. When he was still far away, the brothers plotted against Joseph to kill him. Reuben told the brothers they should not kill him and suggested that they throw him into a pit in the ground. Reuben's secret plan was to come back and rescue Joseph. But before Reuben could rescue him, the brothers decide to sell Joseph and make some money. They sold him to a group of merchants traveling to Egypt. Joseph was now a slave.
When Joseph got to Egypt he became a slave for a man named Potiphar. Joseph became the head of Potiphar's household. But when he was serving his master Potiphar, Potiphar's wife tried to get Joseph to sin with her. Joseph ran from Potiphar's wife, but she told her husband a lie and Joseph went to prison. He stayed in prison for two years.
One night, the Pharaoh of Egypt had a dream. No one could interpret his dream. One of Pharaoh's servants told him about Joseph and Joseph's God, so Pharaoh sent for Joseph out of prison and asked him about the dream. Joseph prayed to God, and God told Joseph the meaning of the dream – and then Joseph told Pharaoh what God had told him. Pharaoh then made Joseph the second ruler over all of Egypt. God took care of Joseph!
But God also took care of Joseph's family. There was a famine in the land where Joseph's brothers were living. Joseph's brothers came to Egypt to find food. When they did, they did not recognize Joseph. Joseph told his brothers who he was, and then he was reunited with his family. His dad and all his brothers and their families moved to Egypt and lived there until the famine was over.
Joseph was sold into slavery, and then thrown into prison and forgotten there. Those seem like the worst possible things that could have happened. But through those painful, "bad" circumstances, God sent Joseph to Egypt and used his presence there to provide a way for the whole family to survive the coming famine.
Even when very bad things happen to us – even if people are mean or lie about us or punish us for sins that we really did not commit – even then God is working everything out for our good and for His own glory. Of course, God promises to do this only for His own people, for those who love Him and are called by him according to His purpose (from Romans 8:28).
God takes care of His own people, even through painful or bad circumstances.
» Have I been lied about or treated badly?
» Have I forgiven people who have sinned against me – as Joseph forgave his brothers – because I see that God will work good things out of my painful circumstances?
Truth In Real Life
“Resolution one: I will live for God. Resolution two: If no one else does, I still will.”
One of the most influential American preachers in history, Jonathan Edwards was born in Connecticut on October 5, 1703. His father, Timothy Edwards, was a preacher; his mother Esther was a preacher’s daughter. The Edwards family loved to serve God.
Jonathan Edwards was the fifth and only son in his family of eleven children. He loved to study, and wrote his first Gospel tract at age 10. His favorite subject in school was history. When he was 12 years old, he wrote a published essay on the habits of the flying spider. Also, right around that time, he became a student at Yale University! He graduated at the top of his class and spent the next two years studying the Bible and preparing for the ministry.
At age 23, he was ordained to preach and made it his personal rule that he would study the Bible no less than thirteen hours every day. He married Sarah Pierrepont, and God gave them twelve children.
In the 1730s, God worked a wonderful revival in people’s hearts. Edwards continued to preach. Soon, by God’s grace, what came to be known as the first “Great Awakening” was spreading throughout the country.
Jonathan Edwards is especially famous even among unbelievers for his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” and its ongoing influence over time. The sermon focused on the subjects of hell and God’s judgment; when he preached it, the church people became so convicted they fell into the aisles and wept. Edwards wasn’t sensational or pushy in his sermon delivery. He just preached God’s message from a handwritten manuscript. He was used greatly by God during the Great Awakening. He also wrote over 60,000 pages in his lifetime and led countless souls to genuine faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Jonathan Edwards was devoted to the study of God’s Word and was resolved to live rightly before Him, no matter what. Do you make resolutions and try to honor God with how you spend your time? Are you praying for God to increase your love for and understanding of His Word?
2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.