‘You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’ (Genesis 50:20 NIV)
Joseph’s brothers were already envious of him because he was the father’s favourite, and to make matters worse he boasted about the revelations God had given him concerning his brothers bowing down to him. Little wonder that they were irritated by Joseph and upset with him.
But Joseph was only 17. He was immature and didn’t know how to approach his family with what God was revealing to him. Nevertheless the anger of his brothers spilled over to the point where they seized him and threw him into a pit with the intention of killing him.
God had other plans. A caravan going to Egypt passed by and the brothers decided to sell Joseph into slavery so he could be taken away from them.
In Egypt Joseph was tested with Potiphar’s wife and humbled by being put into prison; his youthful arrogance was being matured. All of this was working out according to God’s plan as Joseph was being used for the salvation of his family when the great famine would strike.
It’s not difficult to see how this can apply to us as Christians. In our immaturity we can be judgmental and behave in an arrogant way towards those who have a different faith to ours or no faith at all. Sometimes we need to be humbled in order to mature in the faith. This can come about by our own mistakes, the response of others to our treatment of them, or because God in his wisdom allows things into our lives. When this humbling happens it is good to remember what the Apostle Paul tells us:
‘in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’ (Romans 8:28).
When we learn to accept this kind of humbling then we can experience growth and more completely fulfil God’s will and plan for us. It seems that in so many aspects of life we have to go through some kind of failure or humbling experience in order to mature us into more complete followers of Jesus.
In his maturity Joseph was exalted to a position of great responsibility in Egypt, he forgave his brothers making it possible for them to survive.
As Jesus humbled himself to death, he was exalted on a cross forgiving all humanity, enabling us to survive, and was then exalted to the highest place.
Jesus also promised that those who are humbled will be exalted
(Matthew 23:12). In this way the humbling experiences we go through are not negatives to shun but blessings to embrace, because we know God intends them for good.
Father please remove from me any pride or arrogance and give me a humble heart that is more concerned with your glory than my own circumstances.
Have a humble week,