Joseph’s life sums up the one of the great paradoxes and intriguing aspects of God’s creation: sovereignty and choice. If theologians were ever going to nail exactly how it works, they would have by now. It is a mystery that Joseph expresses to his brothers.
Joseph tells them:
Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.
This is a continued illustration that runs through all Genesis and all Scripture of man’s choice and God’s sovereignty. The bad that is done to us by others is a part of our sanctification, even when we don’t understand it. I learned this from a young wife I met at my niece’s wedding in Denver last summer who told me her story, and said: “This is a part of MY sanctification. God is weaving a story, and all story is marked with conflict.
“Joseph lived 110 years and saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children.” In this Joseph sees the fulfillment of God’s promise of his family becoming a nation. For Joseph there was some revelation and understanding, and Joseph died.
For 400 years the narrative lies silent. For 400 years the family—isolated—became a great nation.
Times changed. Pharaohs changed. Conditions changed. God seemed distant, but He was as real and active as on the day he called Abram out of Ur.
God is always active—each day, each moment—whether we see it or not. This is the lesson of Joseph. He believed in the activity of God—as should we.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything