Joseph’s “But God”
“It was not you who sent me here, but God” (Genesis 45:8).
Can you imagine what it must have been like for Joseph’s brothers at this point? The wealthy Egyptian Prime Minister, the one with the power to save their lives and that of their families, was the brother whom they had cast into a pit intending to leave him there (Genesis 37:24).
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
It was the brother they had despised, first because of the preference shown to him by their father and second because of the dream he had told them that the entire family had bowed down to him. But wait, hadn’t they already bowed down to him?
Did they instantly remember everything they had done to him? Did they remember every evil thought and ill intention? Did they feel shame and anguish and wish for the ground to open up and swallow them? We can only guess.
And what were those words that he was saying, “It was God who sent him to Egypt”? Was it God who pulled him out of the pit and handed him over to the Ishmaelites? Was it God who had collected and shared and spent the 20 shekels of silver? Was it God who had hated him passionately and without remorse? How were they to understand those words?
From Prison to Palace
Let’s face it: Joseph had needed to grow up. The pampered man-child needed to get away from his father to find out what he was really made of.
In Egypt, Joseph was no longer the tattletale of Genesis 37:2. He was no longer Daddy’s pet, the pampered child and favorite son. He was a slave. Told to do things and obligated to obey.
Under Potiphar’s hand, he was given charge of a household that he had to learn to manage. In Potiphar’s house, he learned to respect other people’s property. He learned to respect God’s law (Genesis 39:9).
It was in an Egyptian prison that he learned to manage a greater amount of persons than he had previously been in charge of. While in prison, he learned that God’s mercy would endure forever.
In prison, Joseph came into his gift – not as a dreamer of dreams but as an interpreter of them.
At any point during his experiences, Joseph could have become disillusioned and bitter. He could have decided that he would just “curse God and die“. But instead, he allowed God to work in him and through him. He had faith that God would see him through it.
His faith eventually took him out of the prison and into the palace where he was elevated to the post of Prime Minister. Joseph’s “but God” moment was so much sweeter because of the humiliation he had endured.
Lord, help me to appreciate every experience I go through. I know You are using them to change me and that in the end, I shall come forth as gold. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
What area of your life needs to be strengthened? How are the experiences of your life working to get you to that next level?