One of the most interesting and unexpected realities that appear in the Biblical narrative is that God’s will is performed through the rebellion of His enemies.
This unexpected reality becomes even more interesting when we clearly see that God uses the enemies of his children to shape His children and that though we may have enemies who mean us harm they are actually doing us good and can’t help but serve God’s purpose in our lives.
Oh, it is meant as evil from them and it will come as a very painful experience to us (in the short term) but since it is God who is above them, it comes out for our good in the final end.
In the story of Joseph (Gen 37) we find that his brothers were jealous of him because he was favoured and were angry with him because of His dreams which showed his older brothers one day serving him and bowing before him. Out of this jealousy and anger they decide to sell Joseph into slavery and tell his father Jacob, that Joseph had been killed in the field by a wild beast.
Over a period of many years (sold into slavery) and much suffering, Joseph eventually comes to the place where He is placed in a position second only to Pharaoh and basically rules all of Egypt. Joseph, through the providence and leading of God prepares for a coming famine by storing food beforehand. The famine then causes all surrounding regions to come to Egypt for rations of food. Eventually his own brothers come to Egypt (having long forgotten their younger brother), find in the end that their brother is the means of their deliverance.
Though they do not recognise Joseph (as they bow before him) Joseph recognises them. Joseph at one point is so overcome with emotion, and he quickly walks into another room and weeps, (though not in front of his brothers), nor does he let on that he is their brother.
He could take revenge but he longs for them to find blessing and eventually chooses to reveal himself. He forgives them and embraces them. He then provides for them and shows favour to them. When he reveals his identity to them they are stricken with heart pounding fear (Joseph was in the place of judgement and he certainly had not forgotten what his brothers intentions and actions had done to him)
Joseph forgives them and makes this amazing statement not denying their earlier treachery and the intentions behind it.
“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.”
In this case there was mercy and redemption for even the enemies and many others as well.
In my next post I will show how God uses our enemies to deal with our own sin. The same reality applies.