The Torah portion this week comes from Genesis 47:28 to 50:26.
It seems lately I have been hearing and reading about how God is everything we need. He is our strength, our provider, our shield, our refuge, and so much more. These are true statements, but sometimes in our times of distress, these words don't always help.
Bad things happen to all of us. Loved ones die. Homes and jobs are lost. We sin and create disaster in our lives. But even without any sin on our part we can find ourselves in troubling situations. We can make choices that don't pan out, or they don't provide what we thought they would. We can pray for God's leading, but we still can end up in a place where we don't want to be. Sometimes we feel like we've become little Jobs. We may not have experienced all that Job went through, but find that our small portion pushes us to the end of our resources. We may pray for rescue, but find no answer. "What is God doing?" we may ask.
In Genesis 49 we read about the death of Jacob. Then in chapter 50 his sons and a large contingent from Pharaoh carry his body back to Abraham's burial place in Canaan, to the cave of the field of Machpelah. When the mourners return to Egypt, Jacob's sons are afraid. Now that their father is dead, perhaps Joseph will hate his brothers and take revenge on them for their selling him as a slave so many years earlier.
Genesis 50:16-18 (KJV)
And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,
So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
The brothers hoped that because Jacob had commanded Joseph to forgive them, he would. They even fell down in front of him and offered to become his servants. What was Joseph's reply?
Genesis 50:19-20 (KJV)
And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
Joseph told his brothers not to fear. They had meant to do evil to Joseph, but God, in His infinite wisdom, allowed the evil to occur so that many people would be saved alive. God meant it for good!
Count the blessings that we know God has given us. Then thank Him for the times when He was our shield, our provider, and our refuge and we didn't even know it. Lastly, know that every awful thing that happens to us, God uses for good! We may not see the good, but it is there. It is hard sometimes, but we must trust in God and His working all things together for good!
Romans 8:28 (KJV)
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.