Genesis: The end/The beginning

Genesis 49:28ā€“50:26

And this is how it ends.

And this is how it begins.

Joseph is an extraordinary picture of forgiveness. With Jacob/Israel now dead, his brothers freak out thinking Joseph’s generosity has all been fake, and now he’s going to exact his revenge. But he doesn’t.

Joseph has a profound sense that God is in control. Some people call this God’s sovereignty. And that right there is a mystery, folks. Because if God is really in control, then why doesn’t Joseph blame God for all the bad stuff that happened to him?

Maybe in Joseph’s mind sin and sin-soaked people are the causal agents in the world. As Joseph says, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive” (verse 20). And I think that’s the key statement for understanding the entire Joseph story.

The Joseph story is a Pandora’s box of the fate vs. free will conversation. But it’s an essential Biblical text for the topic.

What if Joseph’s brothers never sell him into slavery? Then Joseph isn’t in Egypt, managing and administrating the resources in the 7 good years.

Does God cause bad things to happen to people for the sake of his plan?

I don’t think so. If Joseph is any indication, damaged people bring enough bad things in to the world on their own. It’s God’s sovereignty that takes that horrific situation and recycles it into something useful, something beautiful.

It’s not true that everything happens for a reason. It’s just not. Bad things happen in the world. But God is good, and God is creative, and God is making all things new.

Did know that roughly the same amount of time elapses between Genesis and Exodus as does between the Old Testament and the New Testament? Hmm. Wonder what that means.

The prolonged silence of God.

With that, a curtain closes.

When it opens again in Exodus, the Story of God and his people gets started.

What about you? What do you see?


About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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