Genesis 50:1-26; Exodus 1:1-2:10; Matthew 16:13-17:9; Psalm 21:1-13; Proverbs 5:1-6
The Mystery of Human Responsibility and God’s Providence.
Genesis 50:20 – “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
Even though Joseph’s brothers committed a horrific sin by selling their brother into slavery, God used their actions to save the entire family and by extension the entire nation of Israel from annihilation by starvation.
Indeed, God is in control. He providentially guides and directs His creation using everything to accomplish His good purposes and will—even the evil intentions of sinful humans.
Notice the mystery of human responsibility and divine sovereignty. The brothers are held responsible for their “evil” actions and God is given the credit and glory for the good purposes accomplished by their actions. Joseph marvels at the beauty of the tapestry of God’s providence, and yet we are given no explanation on how the threads are tied.
The Apostle Paul shares a similar thought when he says in Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” All things–even the bad things–will ultimately be used and redeemed for good in the lives of those who love God and are called according to His good purposes.
We are responsible for our evil intentions and actions, but God’s good plans and purposes will not be thwarted!
The Rev. Charlie Holt
The Church of St. John the Divine