Alistair Begg comments:
Remember that Joseph's grandfather was Isaac. As that old man sorted through his memories, he would have recounted the story told in Genesis 22 of how his father Abraham had been commanded by God to offer him as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah.
Isaac must have told Joseph about his feelings as Abraham raised the knife, the miraculous provision of the ram caught in the thicket, and how it was that he, who was to be the sacrifice, walked free on account of God's provision.
Is it not reasonable to assume Isaac must have said to Joseph, 'My son, if you will trust in the God of your great-grandfather Abraham, your grandfather Isaac and your father, Jacob, you will discover that no matter what happens to you, no matter where you go, no matter how difficult life becomes, God Himself will provide for you.'
Now whether or not it happened like that, there has to be an explanation for the way his boy went through his troubles and turned out as he did. Somehow, despite his extreme distress, Joseph must have been aware that God was still in control of his life. He was learning to say with the psalmist, 'I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living' (Ps 27:13).
Joseph understood that even in the exercise of his brothers' hatred, God was working. Perhaps on his ride to Egypt Joseph recognized that God had already provided for him through the intervention of Reuben that saved his life and through Judah's suggestion that he be brought up alive out of the pit.
Perhaps Joseph realized it was only by the hand of God that his brothers had complied with those proposals. Nor was it by chance that a caravan of Ishmaelite merchants had arrived at just the right time for Judah to see them and suggest an alternative to the cruel plot the brothers had had in mind initially. Those traders had been there by divine appointment and God had determined they would make the decision to buy the lad.
The center of God's will may lead us into the eye of a storm. We should not seek to confirm God's will by the absence of adversity. Consider the staggering words written about Jesus in Isaiah 53:10: 'yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer.'
God will accomplish his purposes even though for the time being it might appear that everything has gone awry. There is no denying Joseph's distress at being sold and at anticipating the years of slavery and suffering that lay ahead of him. Those events are a reminder to us that, as the great pastor and author A.W. Tozer once said, 'It is doubtful that God ever used anybody greatly without first hurting him deeply.'
It takes the test of trials to make us useful to God. Some of us are not as useful as we might be, for in shunning the trials we have missed the blessings. We do not have the tender hearts that come from nights of tears. We don't seek tears , but they will indeed come from the Father's Hand. And they will come so that we might be prepared to accomplish His will in our lives and in the lives of others.
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