Yesterday we were considering how God remained unchanging in His intention towards Joseph and in His purpose for his life. Joseph went through all kinds of trials, not just because his brothers were jealous and mean to him, but because God knew that if he was to fulfill the role that God had planned for him on the world stage, he needed to grow up and mature in many many ways.
We don’t know how Joseph processed all the ups and downs of his journey, but we do know, because we know the end of the story, that we have a faithful and an unchangeable God. Josephs’ story, as we said yesterday, is a wonderful encouragement for us when we feel like God has changed His mind about us, or about a promise He has given us in the past.
During his slavery and imprisonment, Joseph was let down successively by family, employers and friends across the whole spectrum of betrayal. There must have been so many opportunities to be angry, hurt, resentful, and vengeful. He may have felt great grief, self pity and despair. And dare I say it? Had he lived in 21st century, he could easily have taken on a victim spirit or, at the very least, a spirit of rejection.
Had Jeremiah been around during those long years, he may have joined him in saying, ‘I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is cast down within me, yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope; Because of the Lords great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail, they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. I say to myself, “the Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him”. Lamentations 3:19-24.
The truth is that Joseph prospered where ever he went. First in Potiphars house, and then in the prison, where he was given leadership and responsibility. Genesis 39 1-23. The Lord was training and preparing Him for future greatness. It wasn’t just in the skills of leadership and administration that he was trained however, God was interested in his character, and at the end of it all and through all his trials, Joseph had become like his God, compassionate and merciful.
How wonderful! Inspite of how it looked humanly speaking, God had been faithful to his word, All the difficulties were not because He had changed His mind about Joseph but because He wanted to get this cocky, spoilt young man to a place of maturity, where he could carry the responsibility of the fulfillment of the dream, in a way that was honouring to God.
As we read on we can see that Joseph didn’t just grudgingly forgive his brothers for all that they had put him through. When they came to him after Jacob their father had died, he could have let them stew a bit and suffer a bit more before he let them know that he had forgiven them, but no, Joseph chose to bless them. He promised he would look after them, ‘And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them’ Genesis 50:21. It sounds like through it all he had become more like his God.
So if you are ever tempted to feel that God has let you down or changed His mind about you, remember He is not just interested in what you do, but also how you do it. He has set His mind on conforming you to the image of His son, by working all things for your good, Romans 8:28,29, and He will never change His mind about that. We can thank Him for that and may be sing too……
“Great is thy faithfulness O God my Father, there is no shadow of turning with thee, thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not, great is thy faithfulness Lord unto me. Morning by morning new mercies I see, All I have needed thy hand has provided, great is thy faithfulness Lord unto me”.