Within the biblical narrative of the Old Testament, perhaps there is no better model of faithfulness than Joseph. Jealousy, deceit, contempt and anger are but a few of the demons to wage war with this faithful servant of God. His brothers became jealous and angry that their youngest brother was their father Jacob’s favorite. So intense was there jealousy, they cast Joseph into a pit leaving him for dead. Later he would be sold into slavery, falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and imprisoned for crimes he did not commit.
In each instance, Joseph could have cried out in anger because of his suffering. He could have become angry with God at his misfortunes. Yet in every instance, Joseph remained faithful and obedient to the God of his ancestors. In the end, Joseph had ascended to a position of authority and upon recognizing his brothers in their need, Joseph served as a model of God’s grace and mercy. With open arms and a forgiving heart, Joseph welcomed the brothers who had turned their backs on him years before.
The story of Joseph teaches us that within this fallen and broken world, God can use all things for the good of His people. Our lives are also filled with challenges to our faith and instances of injustice. More often than not, it seems an inordinate amount of bad things happen to good people. Yet there is no one person who is so lost that God cannot find them. There is no one so grief stricken that God cannot bring consolation. There is no one person so sick, suffering, or in peril that God cannot deliver them from that which holds them captive.
During this time of Advent, as we prepare to receive God’s blessing of our Savior, we are reminded through the story of Joseph of God’s grace. We are reminded of the lengths God will go to deliver His people from sin. Through His only begotten Son, God is willing to go even unto the cross in order to redeem those lost in sin. Yes, bad things do happen, even to God’s people. But through the power of Christ’s death and resurrection, God will make all things work for the good of His people.
God of grace and mercy, we give you thanks for the gift of your Son and for the salvation you bring to your people though Him. Help us turn from those things which lead us away from you and give us the power and will to live according to your will. This we pray in the name of Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.