[Y]ou meant evil against me; but God meant it for good…~ Genesis 50:20 (NKJV)
The story of Joseph’s rise to prominence in Egypt is filled with unlikely twists and turns. It begins when Joseph receives the covenant blessing of Jacob indicating his rise as the leader of God’s people, Israel. But because of the jealously and hatred of his brothers again him, Joseph’s life would take an unexpected turn towards violence, suffering, slavery and attempted murder.
Though his brother’s sought Joseph’s demise, he remained faithful to the Lord, and as a result, God favored and blessed him, even in a foreign land. Joseph rose to great power in Egypt. So that after the death of their father, and during a terrible famine, Joseph’s brothers went up to Egypt to plead for Joseph’s help. And oddly enough, Joseph was in the perfect place to assist.
What Joseph’s brother meant for evil against their brother, God meant for good. Their jealousy drove them to want to kill Joseph, to drive him away, and to prevent him from taking his rightful place as their leader. Yet God preserved Joseph and used him mightily despite them. Joseph remained faithful to God through it all and the Lord blessed him for it.
Sometimes everything can seem to be working against you. It can feel like God has let you go and the world is winning. Still remember, even in our darkest hour, God can bring good out of it. He can bring good out of pain, sorrow, and affliction. Maybe today you are in the pit of life, and like Joseph, with little reason to hope. Yet, be faithful; trust in the Lord. For what others mean for evil against you, your good and faithful God can mean ultimately for your good.
For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You. Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; And attend to the voice of my supplications.~ Psalm 86:5-6 (NKJV)
Here in this passage we find one of the mightiest appeals for answered prayer – God’s own goodness. David could seek no higher ground upon which to lay the basis for his petitions than the Lord’s own character. “You, Lord, are good”. What a testimony! Such a declaration! It is because of the goodness of God that His servant, can, by faith, approach the Lord for forgiveness, healing and restoration of his heart and soul.
And if we think this view of God’s good character is limited to just this one Biblical witness, listen to the testimony throughout Scripture. In 1 Chronicles 16:34 we read, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” Elsewhere the Old Testament prophet Nahum writes, “The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble” (1:7). Mark, the Gospel writer, would also declare, “No one is good but One, that is, God” (10:18).
A.W. Pink, in his classic work on the attributes of God, describes the Lord’s goodness this way, “God is summum bonum, the highest good… The “goodness” of God refers to the perfection of His nature… There is such an absolute perfection in God’s nature and being that nothing is wanting to it or defective in it, and nothing can be added to it to make it better… The goodness of God is the life of the believer’s trust. It is this excellency in God which most appeals to our hearts. Because His goodness endureth forever, we ought never to be discouraged…”
Rather than being discouraged, David plead God’s goodness as his greatest encouragement while approaching Him in prayer and supplication. Do you find God’s innate goodness as a reason to come to Him in prayer? Do you trust that the Lord is good, just and holy and always ready to listen? May we rest upon the character of God and His goodness as the high ground while seeking His face during seasons of communion, fellowship and prayer with our Lord.