“[Joseph] was a boy with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father's wives. And Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons” (37:2,3). Uh-oh, a bad situation set up, here: a tattle-tell, young brother who was his father’s favorite and a bunch of older, jealous brothers! Surely, nothing good can come out of this deal. It sure looked bad for awhile: the brothers’ jealousy, the plot to kill Joseph, Joseph sold as a slave and carried to Egypt, the lies to Jacob, the deal with Judah and Tamar, and Joseph’s terrible mistreatment in Egypt.
Through dreams and interpretations, God providentially took Joseph from prison to become the most powerful man in Egypt, second only to Pharaoh, who “said to Joseph, ‘See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.’ Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand, and clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain about his neck. And he made him ride in his second chariot. And they called out before him, ‘Bow the knee!’ Thus he set him over all the land of Egypt” (41:41-43).
Wow, things looked bad! But God took that which was bad and brought much good from it. And, of course, the story is not even close to being concluded. Here’s a good lesson, though. Even in the darkest, most discouraging times, God is at work to bring about his good and perfect will. Oh, the lyrics of Jeremy Riddle’s great old hymn:
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform . . .
And ye fearful saints, fresh courage take
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings, yeah, in blessings
And in blessings on your head
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust Him for His grace
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.