January 24, 2023
Bishop, W. F. Houston, Jr.
***C H O F Ministry Bible Study Reading: Genesis 50:15–21
**C H O F Ministry Focal Verse: Genesis 50:20 - God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
In 1877, American abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who had formerly been enslaved, reconnected with Thomas Auld, his former master. Douglass had already expressed his extreme disapproval of Auld's brutal treatment of his slaves in several writings. However, when they finally crossed paths again toward the end of Auld's life, Douglass was able to forgive him. According to Frederick Douglass's autobiography, they cried, made up, and went their separate ways as friends. Douglass embraced Christianity when he was a youngster, and it’s evident that he had discovered the strength of God's forgiveness despite the hardship and injustice he had experienced. As we can see from the reading for today, Joseph, too, had learned to forgive despite everything that had been unfairly done to him (vv. 19–21).
In fact, we can say he developed the ability to forgive because of everything that had been unfairly done to him. That didn’t make what his brothers and the Potiphar couple had done any less reprehensible, but it did help Joseph to know that the entire time, God had been in sovereign control and working toward a larger purpose.
However, even though we live in a broken world rampant with sin and misery, these things are not beyond the control of God. He’s immune to being caught off guard and never needs to fall back on a backup strategy. Because of this, our faith ought to be strengthened, and it ought to offer us hope. At the same time, we can't let ourselves become fatalistic or complacent because of it. Sin, pain, and injustice ought to fill us with profound sorrow. Every time there's an opportunity, we ought to put biblical justice into reality and take a position for it. Even more so, we might take delight in our suffering for Christ's sake, just as Paul and Silas did. They sang hymns after they were thrown in jail in Philippi. (Acts 16:25).
How did Joseph acquire knowledge? In the words of the psalmist: “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” (Ps. 119:71). Or in Paul’s terms: “In all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Rom. 8:28).
Let Us Pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, when we’re going through terrible times, it can be challenging to find comfort or relief in the promises of God. Sustain our trust in You. "Lord, to whom do You wish for us to go? You own the words that give life forever. (John 6:68). In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.