“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.” (Gen. 50:20)
I’m fairly sure that seventeen-year-old kid yelling, screaming and probably crying at the bottom of that well that day didn’t have one single good thought when he was down there, I’m going to guess that Joseph was not thinking “Praise God, what do you have in store for me now?” And when they pulled him back up, for a moment at least, he thought it was all over, that he could go back now safely into the arms of his loving father Jacob. How far away do you suppose that caravan of Ishmaelites had traveled before his brothers could no longer hear his screams?
You may have read the account of years later when he finally told his brothers who he was, how they were all so happy to see him alive and well, but have you ever thought, why didn’t at least one of them before all those years passed by say, “I’m going to go find what those Ishmaelites did with Joseph, and I’m going to bring him home.”
We generally do not think about the long-term consequences of our actions, the moment is what spurs us on, out of sight, out of mind, as they say. In my minds eye, I see people in hell, and every single one of them at one time or another, says to themselves, “I wish I would have.” They pray to a God who no longer listens, they beg for mercy that will never arrive, and above all, they wish they would have done differently with their lives. I also see those who will walk through the gates of heaven for the first time, with absolutely no gift at all for their King, no rewards await them, they have not one item to cast at the feet of Jesus.
The immediate circumstances are what rule the lives of most people, not thoughts of the eternal, not the thoughts of what will become of them when they close their eyes for the last time.
Joseph had no clue what the Lord was doing, all he knew was desperation, fear and loss, from the favorite son to the second in command of all of Egypt, but in-between years of sorrow, loss and slavery.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5) Everything that the lad knew about God had probably been told to him by his father, as far as we know there was no written documentation, Moses would not even be born for more than four hundred years yet, and so his strength in God, or at least his knowledge of the Most High, was only what he had in his seventeen year old brain. Are you aware that there is not one time recorded in the Scriptures that the Lord ever spoke audibly to Joseph as he had to his father, grandfather and great-grandfather Abraham? And yet his life revolved around the one true God that he only had memories of from those who had spoken of him.
He did have dreams though, and that was enough. How many people do you know today that call Jesus Christ Lord, who have the complete, inerrant Word of God at their disposal, the fellowship of those who have been saved by grace, that have that type of faith. The just, my friends, have always lived by faith, (Romans 1:17) no matter the circumstances they find themselves in, no matter the possible consequences to themselves. Joseph hid the Word of God in his heart, as much as he had been given, but he did not hide it from others, it was plain to all that met him who he served. Can you say the same?