God’s hand is in everything

Published July 26, 2020, 11:14 PM

by Nelly Favis Villafuerte

GENTLE BREEZE

Someone once said that “circumstances are never so bad that they are beyond God’s help.”  A seemingly hopeless situation can be turned around by a loving God and become a blessing instead.  This is well-illustrated by the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis of the Old Testament.  Not just one misfortune befell Joseph – but a series of misfortunes.  But all these misfortunes were part of a divine design to lift Joseph until he eventually became the governor of Egypt. Throughout all his trials and sufferings, Joseph’s faith in our sovereign  and Almighty God never wavered.  Rejected by his older brothers who sold Joseph to slavery, Joseph later rose to power.  But power did not spoil Joseph.  He graciously forgave his brothers who were instrumental in bringing to Joseph all his trials, miseries, and sufferings for 13 years.  Power and humility – we seldom find this rare combination nowadays.  At the height of their power, people in power forget too soon that there is a God who controls everything. 

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          From biblical accounts, we see 17-year-old Joseph being sold for 20 shekels of silver (about eight ounces) into slavery by his own 10 older brothers to Midianite merchants.  The Midianite merchants in turn sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar, the captain of the guards of the Egyptian pharaoh.  Joseph spent 11 years as an Egyptian slave and two years as a prisoner in Egypt.  Throughout all the 13 years as a slave and as a prisoner, he never grumbled.  Despite the humiliations and sufferings he experienced, Joseph’s faith and trust in the Lord never wavered or faltered.

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          What triggered Joseph’s 10 older brothers to sell him to slavery?  It all started when Jacob, their father, “loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him.  When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him” (Genesis 37:3-4)  The strained relations between Joseph and his 10 older brothers was aggravated by the disclosure of Joseph to them of two dreams which tended to show that one day his brothers would bow down to him.  The more the 10 brothers hated Joseph.  Said the 10 older brothers:  “Do you intend to reign over us?  Will you actually rule us?”  (Genesis 37:8)  If Joseph were a politician of our modern times, probably he would have kept his dreams to himself knowing that his older brothers who already hated him would be further enraged.  But Joseph was not a politician.

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          Who would ever think that Joseph, the slave, would be endeared to Potiphar, his Egyptian master?  God was with Joseph even in slavery and gave success in everything that Joseph did.  Potiphar put Joseph in charge of everything.  But not for long.  Potiphar’s wife, frustrated by Joseph’s refusal to her sexual advances, falsely accused Joseph of attempting to seduce her.  Potiphar reacted like any angry husband and had Joseph jailed.

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          It was not an accident that while Joseph was in prison, two of the prisoners – the former royal cup-bearer (wine-taster) and the chief baker of the pharaoh – had dreams one night.  It was Joseph who interpreted the dreams which later came true – the cupbearer was restored to his position, but the chief baker was hanged.  Joseph told the cupbearer when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to the pharaoh, and get me out of this prison.  (Genesis 40:14)  Alas!  The cupbearer who was restored to his royal position forgot Joseph – until two years later when the pharaoh’s dream could not be interpreted by the magicians and the wise men of Egypt.  Joseph’s interpretation of the pharaoh’s dream was the awesome “seven years of plenty and seven years of famine” prophecy.  The subsequent turn of events that followed – (a) Joseph’s immediate designation by the pharaoh as the ruler of Egypt, second only to the pharaoh, whose responsibilities among others was to store the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of plenty in anticipation of the seven years of famine;  (b) Joseph’s face-to-face encounter with his brothers who went to Egypt to buy grain during the famine;  (c) Joseph’s touching reconciliation with his brothers  who repented their evil deed against Joseph; and (d) Joseph’s happy reconciliation with his father Jacob and Benjamin, his younger brother – in all these events we see God’s hand in them.

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          May this Biblical account of Joseph strengthen our faith in the Lord even in times of crisis.  May this story comfort us that our caring God will not forsake us even if the odds are overwhelmingly adverse against us.  May we find it in our hearts to forgive,  like Joseph, those who have deeply hurt us in the same way our loving God showers us with blessing despite our sinfulness.

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          Our Almighty and sovereign God is not sleeping… oh, no, not even for a moment.

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          By the way Pastor Richard (Dick) Mirpuri of NEW VISION PHILS is giving out free soft e-copies of his book “Glimpse of Grace.” To get free soft e-copies, please send us your email address.

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This column continues to give out copies of the Holy Bible for free to those who cannot afford to buy their own copies. If interested, please send your letter-request to Ms. Nelly Favis-Villafuerte, 5233 Fahrenheit St., Palanan, Makati City. Kindly mention if it is the Tagalog, English, Cebuano, or Ilocano Bible that is preferred.  

          Be joyful and forgiving! (Comments may be sent to Ms. Villafuerte’s email: [email protected])

 
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