“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” — Genesis 50:20
Our journey to understand God’s purposes for the church takes us back to some key moments in salvation history.
The church is the carrier of the story of God and how God is creating a new people to make up a community of grace. There are twists and turns in the story, as we can see in the life of Joseph, for example. A favored son gets sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. When it seems like things might get better for Joseph, something else happens and he lands in prison with no hope of release. Then God gives Joseph the ability to interpret dreams to bring about not only his release but also the saving of his family and many others from famine. (See Genesis 37-49.)
Genesis 50 brings us to the moment when Joseph’s father, Jacob, has died, and the brothers of Joseph worry that he might punish them. What will Joseph do now as payback for all the wrong they had done to him?
Joseph looks beyond their actions to the ultimate purpose of God. God desires to save people. God desires to use people like Joseph—and us—to bring about a new day and provide new life for his people.
In this story we see a picture of how God is at work in the twists and turns of life—and he is still at work in our lives today!