505 "GOD MEANT IT FOR GOOD"
Reimar A. C. Schultze
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 (Gen. 50:20).
George Watson said: “If you fear God, you need fear nothing else; but if you don’t fear God, then you’ll be subject to a thousand fears.” We need God to help us, lead us and build faith in us. Because He wants to build faith in us, He keeps working with us. If we hang on, He will keep trying to make Joseph’s story our story.
So then, let us take a look at the story of this young man, Joseph, and his journey from a pit to a throne. After Joseph had reached the palace, he told his brothers who had placed him in a pit many years before: ...as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good… to save many people alive.
God wants to bring every one of His followers—including you—to a place where they believe of every evil that has been done against them: “God will work it for our good.”
I want you to know that Joseph did not start out that way. He came to this place of faith through his brothers’ evil intentions. He did not arrive there by going to an altar of prayer. You need an altar of prayer and you need to start there and pray about things. But it took wicked events in Joseph’s life to help him see the good in the evil circumstances.
At seventeen years of age, Joseph was a young man and a spoiled brat. Jacob made an expensive coat of many colors for him, and his brothers knew that their father loved him above everybody else. Then Joseph had a dream that his brothers would someday bow before him. Think of it: Joseph, this spoiled kid, went around and told his brothers: “Someday, you are going to bow down before me.” Now that did not help the situation any, did it?
One day, Jacob sent Joseph to meet his brothers who were tending sheep out in the fields. They said to one another after they saw him and he was still some distance away: Look, this dreamer is coming! ...We shall see what will become of his dreams (Gen. 37:19-20).
This young man was called by God. Can you imagine God calling this spoiled youth? You say, “How in the world can God call or use a person like that?” It is no wonder his brothers wanted to kill him! But remember, God uses circumstances to train you. The circumstances that you squirm under and the circumstances that you do not like, God sends your way for your good so that you get to sit with your Lord in His throne.
So then, Joseph’s brothers saw this dreamer coming and they put him in a pit! The pit was dry and empty having no water and no food. Obviously, Joseph was not down there saying: “Oh God, this is working for my good.” His brothers left him there to die. But as God brought him out of that pit, He also brought something out of Joseph. And while you are coming out of the pit that you are in, God will bring something out of you! God is wonderful and He wants you to serve Him! He is trying to get you to a place where He can transform your life so that you can someday sit on a throne.
Next, God put Joseph into slavery. Was that for his good? Yes, being sold as a slave was for his good! That bad circumstance that you are experiencing in your life is for your good!
After that, Joseph had experienced some successes in Egypt working for Potiphar and then he was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and was then cast into prison. Was that for his good? Yes, that was working for his good! What I am trying to help you to see is that whatever trial you are in is for your good! I am not lying! God wants you to let this trial change you! Whatever trial you are going through, God means it for your good. God is Sovereign.
While Joseph was in the pit, then slavery and finally prison, I believe that he may have been praying something like this: “Oh God, get me out of here!” And God did not answer his prayer! God may not answer your prayer asking Him to deliver you out of your trial. He also may pull you out of one trial and then place you into another. Why? For your own good!
Look at Moses who was called by God as a young man and he knew that God had called him. As he went out to see his brothers one day, he saw an Egyptian hitting one of the Israelites, and he killed the Egyptian. You talk about zeal! I want you to know something: zeal is a wonderful thing, but God will not bless ungodly zeal. So we should make sure that our zeal is guided by God or He will not bless it. Because of Moses’ ungodly zeal, God let him be run off! Moses was called by God like Joseph, and God let him be run off. Was that for his good? Moses may have thought of this result being for evil, but God meant it for good.
So Moses was run off for 40 years! God meant it for good. As a young man, Moses was in the king’s palace, and was strong and mighty in word and in deed. This man who could roll up his sleeves and fight for God became the meekest man in the world. God took that fight out of him—that wrong fight. There is a fight that needs to be in you, but not the kind Moses had. God took it out of him during those forty years on the back side of the desert where he learned to submit to God. At the burning bush, it was God who was in charge. Moses had to submit. Moses submitted to God, and the Bible says that we are to submit to one another (Eph. 5:21).
Is it hard to submit? I remember seeing on a church sign one time that the hardest thing to do is to “give in.” God had to bring this hot-tempered, self-sufficient man down to being the meekest man on the face of the earth. And God can do it with you so that you learn that: ...all things work together for good to those who love God... (Rom. 8:28). So, what is it that is good? It is good is to be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ!
So getting back to Joseph, before he could sit on a throne, there were some things he had to learn. First of all, Joseph had to learn to love. He did not know how to love his brothers: he was proud of himself and he was arrogant. After God helped him to experience many trials, he had learned to love his brothers when they came to Egypt to procure some grain and he wept over them instead of bragging to them.
Another thing, before he could sit on a throne, Joseph had to learn to forgive. And before you can sit on the throne that God has destined you to be on, you are also going to have to learn to forgive. You will never make it to the throne without being able to forgive.
Joseph had to learn to forgive so that when he saw his brothers, there was absolutely no animosity in his heart against them—he had completely forgiven them. And not only that, he had forgotten about it so much that it did not bother him anymore. Some people will forgive, but they cannot quit talking about it! If you truly forgive, you will not talk about it anymore because you have gotten to a place where it does not bother you anymore.
Joseph told his brothers: “Do not think evil of what you have done and do not be so hard on yourselves. You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good and that is why He brought me here!” Isn’t God’s providence wonderful? I am telling you about this because it could be your story. I trust you can get a hold of it. God is saying: “Do not think evil about it.”
Joseph had to learn to be merciful. He had to learn this or he never would have gone to the throne; and you will never make it to your throne if you are not merciful. I heard a man pray one time when I was holding a revival meeting and I will never forget his prayer: “Oh God, help me to be as merciful towards others as I want You to be merciful towards me.” It would be wonderful if you could learn to be merciful to one another.
Joseph had to learn to get over his self-pity. He could not have self-pity in his heart for self-pity is always trying to prove that others are wrong.
So Joseph was a man who had made a journey, a journey that you and I are going to make someday. I marvel that God wants us sitting on a throne! He created this world and sent His Son into this world so that He could find a Bride to sit on the throne with Him! That is what you were created for, and He has you on a journey to get you there. But He wants you to get to the place where you can see that everything that is happening to you is under God’s control. He is Sovereign. He could have gotten Joseph out of that pit! He could have put Joseph on the throne of Egypt without any of these things. But only his hard experiences made him fit to become the ruler God needed to save many people. Truly as God said: all things work together for good to those who love God; and to him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne (Rev. 3:21).