And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. — Genesis 50:19-20
The big question of “Why?” is one that seemingly every person grapples with it at some time in his or her life. Some years ago, God gave me an object lesson in why answers do not always come when we ask Him.
My children were young then, and they were full of questions such as, “Why is grass green?” or “What makes a rainbow?” Once they asked fifty questions as we drove a distance of about a mile and a half — I counted! Usually, I tried to respond. Sometimes, however, the answers were so complicated that I knew they could not understand if I tried to explain. For example, can you spell out how photosynthesis works to a four-year-old? How about what causes the prismatic colors of a rainbow? The answers to their questions were way beyond what their little minds could comprehend, and as much as I loved them, attempting an explanation would have been futile.
Times may come when we do not comprehend God’s chosen way to fulfill His purpose in our lives. However, we can be assured that God will use circumstances — no matter how unimaginable they may seem to us — to fulfill His own plans.
We can learn from the life of Joseph. While God was working in his life through incomprehensible happenings, Joseph steadfastly held to his trust in the Lord and let God sort it all out. No doubt the events of his life were a big puzzle to him. Perhaps at times he questioned why circumstances occurred as they did. However, he stood firm, and by the time of the events in today’s text, he finally understood why he had suffered the intense opposition, betrayal, denial, temptations, wrongful accusations, and unjust punishment that had come his way. More than that, he recognized that it was worthwhile.
After the death of Joseph’s father, his brothers came once more before him in fear of revenge for the evil they had done to him many years earlier. His kind answer and soothing words to them indicated that he was deeply committed to God and realized that God had an overall purpose. Joseph reassured his brothers of his forgiveness and also promised to take care of them and their families.
We must trust God and wait patiently for Him to bring good from the unexplainable — even the “bad” things that happen to us. We can trust Him because, as Joseph learned, God can transform evil into good.
This concluding text of Genesis tells of Jacob’s death and burial and also the death of Joseph. In both cases, references to their descendants’ future return to Canaan were stressed.
At the conclusion of the blessing of his sons, Jacob told them that he was to be buried in the cave of Machpelah in Canaan. He had previously asked Joseph to promise that this would be done, and Joseph was faithful to make it happen.
Embalming was a practice of the Egyptians, and they were masters of the process, which took between thirty and forty days. The Egyptians mourned about seventy days for a king, so they showed Jacob much honor. When it was time to go to Canaan, Joseph himself did not appear before Pharaoh because he would have still been wearing mourning clothing, and it was unacceptable to appear before the king in such attire. Pharaoh’s permission to leave was given, and an entourage was appointed to accompany Jacob’s sons. With due ceremony, Jacob was buried.
In Genesis 50:15-21, the brothers again expressed fear that Joseph would seek vengeance. His reassurance was given in another emotional scene.
At the end of his life, Joseph was still confidently looking ahead to the time when God would take Jacob’s family back to Canaan. He extracted a promise from Jacob’s descendants that they would take his body with them when they traveled back. That promise was kept and its fulfillment is recorded in Joshua 24:32.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The early history of the chosen race
7. Jacob’s last days
d. Jacob’s final request and death (49:29-33)
e. Jacob’s burial (50:1-14)
(1) The embalming (50:1-3)
(2) The burial in Canaan (50:4-14)
8. The last days of Joseph (50:15-26)
a. The fear of Joseph’s brothers (50:15-21)
b. The death of Joseph (50:22-26)
Who knows what God may be working out through the events of our lives today! We can place our full trust in Him.