Today's Manna

January 31, 2017
Reminders, Redemption, & Restoration
by Lois McBride
Scripture Reading: Genesis 42

Genesis 42 opens with Joseph’s brothers at a loss for what to do to provide for their families, servants, flocks and herds during one of many famines that had plagued the land of Canaan. And as their father, Jacob, mentions sending them to Egypt to buy grain, they are instantly reminded again of their brother who "is no more." Watching their father continue to grieve daily over the loss of Joseph many years before served as a daily reminder of their crime against him.

After their arrival in Egypt, as Joseph sees his brothers bowing down before him with their faces to the earth, his dreams from long ago begin to take physical shape. His brothers had plotted his murder and sold him into slavery specifically in an attempt to defeat those dreams. Instead, God used their evil deeds to send Joseph to Egypt. They provided the way the dreams would be fulfilled.

None of this excuses man’s evil. The great truth is that God in His providence can and does use the evil actions of men toward us to further His good plan. God’s wisdom and goodness are far greater than any of man’s evil. “Surely the wrath of man shall praise You; with the remainder of wrath You shall gird Yourself.” (Psalm 76:10)

As God reminded Joseph of his dreams, He guided him to be an instrument for the correction and restoration of his brothers. God can, and indeed sometimes must use ways we think are harsh to correct and restore us because of the hardness of our hearts. Therefore, we must not resent God’s means to reach us. “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.” (Psalm 119:67)

The quickness with which his brothers associated the harsh events in Joseph’s court with their sin against the young Joseph proved they often remembered their sin. A guilty conscience sees everything as sin’s penalty. When the light of God’s Word shines on our conscience, it is reliable and trustworthy. God guides us to see our sin clearly so that we may repent completely, and thus be restored completely in our relationship with Him.

Joseph teaches us not to allow bitterness and hatred against those who have wronged us to bind our hearts and souls. Joseph had far worse circumstances than those experienced by his father and his brothers, yet he never took the attitude that everything and everyone was against him. He demonstrated in type what the Apostle Paul taught centuries later, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

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