God’s Wondrous Sovereignty
"So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt."
Joseph expressed one of the great mysteries of our faith, the wonder of God's sovereignty. To the brothers who had indeed mistreated him by selling him into slavery, Joseph said, "So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God." Amazing!
Of course on a literal level, Joseph's brothers were the ones who sold him into slavery, probably with the knowledge that the Ishmaelites were headed to Egypt. But behind this human drama Joseph sensed the hand of God, who was able to work his inscrutable will even through the misdeeds of the brothers. As John Calvin comments in his commentary of Genesis 45:8: "This is a remarkable passage, in which we are taught that the right course of events is never so disturbed by the depravity and wickedness of men, but that God can direct them to a good end."
The belief that God can work even through immoral human beings does not make us nonchalant about evil, however. We are to seek justice and righteousness in our own lives and in our world. But the fact that God is not stymied by sin gives us confidence that God can and will work all things together for good. This means that he will work in our lives, even through our mistakes and misdeeds. What a wonder!
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
William Cowper, 1774
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How do you make sense of the mystery of God's will? What difference does it make to you that God can produce good results even out of evil?
PRAYER: Dear Lord, there is so much about you that I can't really understand. I sometimes wonder why you allow injustice, even working through it, rather than abolishing it. I wonder why you allow people to suffer as they do, even though I can see you work through suffering. Indeed, you have said that your ways are not our ways, and I experience this truth time and again.
Yet even though I cannot fully fathom you, I marvel at your sovereignty. I have seen both in Scripture and in my own life the truth expressed by Joseph. You have been at work even through that which seems so contrary to your will. You have been able to redeem that which feels beyond redemption.
All praise be to you, almighty God, sovereign over all of history, Lord of my life. Amen.