JOSEPH: A Life of Providence, Injustice, and Forgiveness
God’s providence is a concept biblically, yet increasingly Christians do not comprehend this doctrine. Many today are practical deists; they believe in God the creator, but consider him distant and largely uninvolved in the day to day events of their own lives. The life narrative of Joseph as found in the book of Genesis shows us clearly that God is involved in every event of our lives, just as he was in the life of Joseph. This involvement in Joseph’s life and in our own is through God’s providence. The Anglican theologian, J. I. Packer, tell us that “providence is a continual exercise of that same energy [the universe creating energy] where by the Creator…involves Himself in all events and directs all things to their appointed end. …Christians are never in the grip of blind forces; all that happens to them is divinely planned.” What this means is that God was involved and in control not only of Joseph’s rise to power in Egypt but also in the hard events of betrayal, slavery, false accusation and abandonment. These terrible events took Joseph by surprise but not his God. God’s providence brought suffering into the life of Joseph, but that suffering had a purpose. The results of the bitter drink of suffering ultimately saved many, including the young Hebrew nation. Joseph’s life shines a spotlight on the truth that God utilizes our afflictions to work his purposes in our lives and in the lives of others. We need this perspective that Joseph developed about his life. Joseph saw the hand of God, and because he did, he responded to his brother’s betrayal with forgiveness and grace, not vengeance. Forgiveness and grace is the way of the cross; it is the path we are called to walk as Christians.
- Item #: PB-16