Here we are in week six and I'm so excited you are still hanging in! Can you believe we are halfway through this book? I hope considering it together has been a great help to you in truly absorbing the material.
Today we are going to think about the spectacular sin of Joseph being sold by his brothers into slavery. Specifically, let's look at the paragraph on page 81 which says, "The brothers meant the sale of Joseph as evil, but God meant it for good. Notice it does not say that God used their evil for good, after they meant it for evil. It says that in the very act of evil, there were two different designs: In the sinful act, they were designing evil, and in the same sinful act, God was designing good."
As I was re-reading this chapter today, I was simultaneously watching Lord of the Rings for the umpteenth time. In the last installment, The Return of the King, Frodo is deceived by Gollum into entering the lair of Shelob, an enormous spider. (Hang with me, I'm going somewhere here.) Frodo is bitten by the spider and appears to be dead when he is found by a band of orcs and taken deep into Mordor - his intended destination. (You can watch the clip here.)
Point being, Frodo never dreamed being paralyzed by a venomous spider would be the way by which he was delivered to the desired end. But, in the same vein of Joseph's' trials, the one event that was intended to kill him served in helping him destroy the evil that originally intended it. Make sense?
I'm just going to ask one mini-series of questions today because I think it is important that we give adequate thought to the fact that God isn't simply reacting to evil perpetuated against us by figuring out a way He can later twist it to good. In fact, He is equally present in the planning stages except His intentions in that same act are for our good and His glory. I hope you are equally encouraged in knowing that Satan is never allowed to act independently of God's goodness. I know so many things that happen to us do not seem good at all, but may we be like Joseph who was able to recognize God used the brothers to "send him to Egypt in order to preserve many lives".
Now let's talk:
Looking back, describe an event that was both intended as evil and good. Are you allowing God's purposes to prevail or have you been content in accepting the evil consequences? Explain.
One thing that really resonated with me was Joseph's faithfulness no matter what was perpetrated against him. Are we being faithful in less than desirable situations so that God can make the most of them? How are lives being preserved as a result of your experience?
Monday, March 02, 2009