Advent: December 8th
But Joseph said to them, "Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones." (Genesis 50:19-21)
These are the words of Joseph to his brothers, who years ago sold him into slavery to get rid of him. They despised him and his dreams and, of course, the tipping point was the coat of many colors made for him by his father which he pranced around in before his brothers. Joseph was the youngest of twelve brothers. Imagine the psychological trauma of being sold by your own flesh and blood into slavery. As the wagon continues down the road, you can see your brothers in the distance, counting their money, becoming smaller and smaller until, finally, they disappear over the horizon. Imagine not knowing where you would end up, what they would do to you, how they might harm you. Eventually Joseph ends up in an Egyptian prison, having been accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Egyptian prisons were not known for their comfort or humane treatment of prisoners. For years he would have slept on a cold hard floor in a rat and flea infested cell, living on stale bread and water. His father, Jacob, had been told by his brothers that he was dead, that he had been ripped to shreds by a lion. Thus, as far as his father was concerned, Joseph was dead. Then through a series of providential events, Joseph rises to the second highest position in the land of Egypt so that when a severe famine strikes, he is the perfect position to not only save his family, but to save all of Egypt. Their father, however, eventually dies, and now his brothers are left standing before Joseph, wondering what he is going to do to them. His response? “Do not fear,…you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
Joseph was despised and rejected by his own people and left for dead. Yet God sovereignly orchestrated all of it so that the ‘stone which the builders rejected became the cornerstone’ (Matt. 21:42). Christ was despised and rejected by his own people. Yet, what people meant for evil, God meant for good to bring about the salvation and forgiveness of many. Advent is about Christ, the Creator, being born in human form and allowing himself to be rejected by his own creation, to be beaten, flogged, and crucified so that those who place faith in Christ should receive the hope of eternal life. Advent is about the amazing compassion and love of Christ.
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