Genesis 50:15–21 (ESV)
God’s Good Purposes
Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” 16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your
father gave this command before he died: 17 ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.” ’ And now, please forgive the transgression
of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. 18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” 19 But
Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 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. 21 So
do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
Verse 20 is one of the more powerful
statements in the book of Genesis. After everything Joseph’s brothers have done to him… he harbors no ill will. He actually sees it as part of God’s plan. Most people would be focusing on themselves and want vengeance or
pity, but not Joseph. He states “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.” The Lutheran Study Bible
states: Jacob’s sons fear that only their father’s presence prevented Joseph’s revenge for their earlier hatred and violence. But Joseph consoles them and speaks kindly to them. Reconciliation should come from the heart and be confirmed by
our deeds, just as Joseph provided for his brothers’ families in addition to forgiving them. Sin penetrates flesh and spirit and can lead people to despair. To console despairing sinners, God causes the Gospel of reconciliation in Christ to be preached,
and He confirms this message with the comforting Sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Supper.
I pray: O Lord, though humans meant to
do evil to You with the cross, You meant it for good, to bring about eternal salvation. Praise to You, O Christ. Amen.
A. (2009). The Lutheran Study Bible (p. 93). St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House.