IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: ANI YOSAFE!
(IN GOD’S HAND, INTENDED EVIL BECOMES EVENTUAL GOOD)
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph!
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”
— Genesis 50:20
Son of Jacob
Graduate with honors from the University of Hard Knocks
Director of Global Effort to Save Humanity Succeeded.
How? How did he flourish in the midst of tragedy? We don’t have to speculate. Some twenty years later the roles were reversed, Joseph as the strong one and his brothers the weak ones. They came to him in dread. They feared he would settle the score and throw them into a pit of his own making. But Joseph didn’t. And in his explanation we find his inspiration.
In God’s hands intended evil becomes eventual good.
Joseph tied himself to the pillar of this promise and held on for dear life. Nothing in his story glosses over the presence of evil. Quite the contrary. Bloodstains, tearstains are everywhere. Joseph’s heart was rubbed raw against the rocks of disloyalty and miscarried justice. Yet time and time again God redeemed the pain. The torn robe became a royal one. The pit became a palace. The broken family grew old together. The very acts intended to destroy God’s servant turned out to strengthen him.
“You meant evil against me,”
Joseph told his brothers, using a Hebrew verb that traces its meaning to “weave” or “plait.”
“You wove evil,” he was saying, “but God rewove it together for good.”
God, the Master Weaver. He stretches the yarn and intertwines the colors, the ragged twine with the velvet strings, the pains with the pleasures. Nothing escapes His reach. Every king, despot, weather pattern, and molecule are at His command. He passes the shuttle back and forth across the generations, and as He does, a design emerges. Satan weaves; God reweaves.
Joseph was one of the youngest sons, his father spent more time with him, and he became very special to him. So Jacob had a special robe made for Joseph. (They didn’t have jackets back then, so this was a very special jacket). It was very beautiful and had every color you could imagine in it.All of Joseph’s older brothers saw this and they got very jealous.
Do you guys know what jealousy is?
Jealousy is like an angry feeling you get when someone has or gets something that you want.
They got so jealous they couldn’t even say a kind word to him.
Ani yosafe! I am Joseph! Two words in Hebrew, no interpreter, two worlds collide. Not, “I am going to kill you,” but “Does my father yet live?” They had told him, but he wanted to hear it from them not as the Egyptian governor but as their brother. He is all love and instant nearness to them, but they are terrified. I am Joseph fell like God’s gavel upon their consciences. Many things began to make more sense to some of them, but twenty years of guilt and hiding and resulting soul shrinkage were suddenly exploded like a balloon pierced by a pin. It rose before them out of the depths of a guilty conscience – the old hatred, seeing the teenage Joseph approaching, grabbing and stripping him, eating their dinner as their brother cried from the pit, selling him to the slave traders, breaking Jacob’s heart with their lies. And, O, now the inexplicable things this man seemed to have known and pointed questions and actions that brought back their old crimes. Did they think of these things? Perhaps some did. My guess is that they were shocked, guilty, and terrified – Joseph? They stared at him more closely, trying to penetrate the Egyptian garb and pomp of his station. Could it be? It must be. How could this man have known the name Joseph, that they had a brother named Joseph, unless he had been Joseph? What is he going to do to us? This is the last place we would expect to see our brother, even had we thought him still alive. The earth stopped spinning as their hearts stopped beating. Deeper yet, they were suddenly brought face to face with the God of Jacob. In the person of Joseph, they stood before their Judge. What would be his verdict?
Come Near; I Am Your Brother (v. 4)
Come near to me. Come closer to me. He wanted to speak more quietly to them. Servants and steward likely had their ears to the door, and Joseph did not want to publish his brothers’ crimes but to cover them in love. I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. Any lingering doubt vanished. Somehow this was Joseph before them. They sold him into slavery; he stood before them as the ruler of Egypt. They trampled him and threw him in the pit; they now were before him, but he wants only to embrace them as brothers. How long until their hearts beat again? Is this nearness to announce their doom? Your brother should have driven away that fear. He who evidently could snap his fingers and move the world only wanted to be near to them “Joseph your brother.” They stood near him alarmed, dumbstruck, looking at each other with all the pain of condemned criminals walking to the gallows. Their brother would repay them now, but slow to grasp the God of mercy and the grace of his covenant, they were slow to understand their brother (50:16-18).
JOSEPH is a very eminent type of Christ. When he was hated of his brethren because he protested against their sins, and when they sold him for twenty pieces of silver, he was doubtlessly a portrait of the despised and rejected of men whom his disciple betrayed. Afterwards in his temptations in the house of Potiphar, in the slander and consequent imprisonment in the round house of Pharaoh’s prison, in his after advancement, till he became lord over all the land of Egypt, we clearly see our blessed Lord right well pourtrayed. Indeed so well is the picture drawn that there is scarcely a stroke even though it should seem to be a mere accidental incident of the picture which has not its symbolic meaning. You shall read the history of Joseph through twenty times, and yet you shall not have exhausted the type; you shall begin again and find still some fresh likeness between this despised son of Rachel, and the Son of Mary who is also God over all, blessed for ever. Amen.
It is not however my business this morning to enter into a full description of Joseph as the type of Christ, I have a rather more practical object in hand. I shall endeavour in the Lord’s strength to deal with tried and troubled consciences, and if it shall be my happy lot to be the means of cheering some sorrowing heart, and opening some blind eye to see the personal beauties, and the intense affection of the Lord Jesus, I shall be but too glad to have been God’s messenger to your hearts.
To tarry no longer, but to proceed at once to so good an errand, hopeful that God will help us to accomplish it, I shall direct your attention to the picture before us as being a representation of the way in which the Lord Jesus Christ deals with his erring brethren, those whom his Father has given him, and whom he has purchased with his blood.
It seems to me that the condition of Judah and his brethren is a very notable picture of the state of sinners when they are awakened by the Holy Spirit, that the disguise which Joseph assumed when he dealt so roughly with them, is a masterly representation of the manner in which Jesus Christ, the loving one, seems to deal hardly and harshly with poor coming sinners, and that thirdly, the manifestation which Joseph afterward made to his brethren, is but a faint representation of the declaration of love which Jesus makes to repenting spirits when at last he reveals himself to them in mercy.
We think that the condition and posture of Judah and his brethren at the feet of the throne of Joseph, trembling in alarm, well describe THE CONDITION AND POSITION OF EVERY TRULY AWAKENED SINNER.
By different methods Joseph had at last awakened the consciences of his ten brethren. The point which seemed to have been brought out most prominently before their consciences was this: “We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.” And though, in the speech which Judah made, it was not necessary to accuse themselves of crime, yet in the confession, “God hath found out the iniquity of thy servants,” Joseph could see evidently enough, that the recollection of the pit and of the sale to the Ishmaelites was vividly before their mind’s eye. Now, beloved, when the Lord the Holy Ghost arouses sinners’ consciences, this is the great sin which he brings to mind: “Of sin because they believed not on me.” Once the careless soul thought it had very little to answer for: “I have not done much amiss,” said he, “a speedy reformation may wipe out all that has been awry, and my faults will soon be forgotten and forgiven; but now, on a sudden, the conscience perceives that the soul is guilty of despising, rejecting, and slaughtering Christ. What a sin is this, my brethren! And what pangs we endured when first this crime was laid to our charge, and we were compelled to plead guilty to it! O Lord Jesus, did I accuse thee to thine enemies? Did I betray thee? Did I adjudge thee to the cross? Were my cries virtually heard in the streets, “Crucify him, crucify him?” Is it true that my sins were the nails which fastened thee to the tree? Is it so, that I had a share in thy bloody murder— a tragedy by which the world became a deicide, and man the murderer of his own Redeemer? It is even so; if our conscience be in a right state, we are forced to acknowledge it. Dost thou not know, sinner, every time thou dost prefer the pleasures of this world to the joys of heaven, thou dost spit in the face of Christ; every time when to get gain in thy business, thou doest an unrighteous thing, thou art like Judas selling him for thirty pieces of silver; every time thou makest a false profession of religion, thou givest him a traitor’s kiss; every sermon which you hear, which makes a temporary impression on your mind, which impression you afterwards blot out, makes you more and more Christ’s despiser and rejector; every word you have spoken against him, every hard thought you have had of him, has helped to complete your complicity with the great crowd which gathered around the cross of Calvary, to mock and jeer the Lord of life and glory. Now, if there be any sin which will make a man deeply penitent, I think that this sin when it is really brought home to the conscience will affect us. To slay him who did me no hurt, the holy and the harmless One! To assist in hounding to the tree the man who scattered blessings with both his hands, and who had no thought, nor care, nor love, save for those who hated him. To pierce the hands that touched the leper, and that broke the bread, and multiplied the fishes! To fasten to the accursed wood the feet which had often carried his weary body upon painful journeys of mercy! Oh! this is base indeed. But when I think he loved me, and gave himself for me, that he chose me , before the stars were made, or the heavens upreared upon their everlasting arches, and that I, when he came to me in the gospel, should have rejected and despised, and even mocked at him, this is intensely, infinitely cruel. Jesus, thou dost forgive me, but I can never forgive myself for such a sin as this.
Dear friends, has the Holy Spirit made you feel that you are guilty? If so, I am glad of it, for when we once feel guilty concerning the death of Jesus, our brother, it is not long before he will reveal himself to us in mercy, blotting out our sins for ever.
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