Mark D. Roberts

God Intended It All for Good

READ Genesis 50:19-21


“You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.
He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”
Genesis 50:20
Joseph’s brothers, fearing that he would mistreat them after their father’s death, begged Joseph to forgive them, perhaps even conjuring up a request from their deceased father. Yet such a contrivance was not necessary, because Joseph had no plans to punish his brothers for what they had done to him.
Not only had he experienced relational reconciliation with his brothers, but also Joseph had come to see their behavior and, indeed, his whole life, from a new perspective. The action of his brothers in selling him into slavery was wrong, and something they meant for ill. But behind their injustice was a larger justice. God, in his inscrutable sovereignty, had used the evil of Joseph’s brothers for the sake of good.
The question of how God works out his sovereign will through human beings is one of the trickiest of all. On the one hand, we are sufficiently free so that we are rightly held accountable for our sins. On the other hand, we can do nothing that God hasn’t determined to be part of his redemptive work in this world. The fact that God can intend our evil for good doesn’t excuse us. Nor does it give us a license to do wrong. But God’s ability to work all things together for good, even wrong things, gives us confidence and reassurance even when we suffer ill.
When bad things happen to us, we have every right to condemn that which is sinful and to cry out to God for help. But, at the same time, we are encouraged by the story of Joseph to trust that God will use our tragedies for ultimate good.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever experienced something like what Joseph describes, when evil led to a good result in your life? When bad things happen to you, what do you do? How do you think and feel about God in the midst of life’s struggles?
PRAYER: Sovereign Lord, Joseph proclaims a mystery that I believe, even though I can’t really understand it. Your ability to work in and through human beings is truly a wonder. Your ways are amazing, and they certainly aren’t my ways!
Thank you, dear Lord, for redeeming the bad things of my life, those actions of which I was a victim, and those actions of which I was the perpetrator. Your healing, redemptive power is more wonderful than I can find words to describe.
All praise be to you, Sovereign Lord, for the grandeur of your plan for restoring the whole world. All praise be to you, Sovereign Lord, for choosing to use us in your work, even when we do wrong. All praise be to you, Sovereign Lord, for your mercy, your wisdom, your power. Amen.
Daily Reflections from The High
This devotional comes from The High Calling of Our Daily Work ( You can read my Daily Reflections there, or sign up to have them sent to your email inbox each day. This website contains lots of encouragement for people who are trying to live out their faith in the workplace.
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