In November 1942, the Allies secured a significant victory driving Rommel’s forces out of Egypt. Churchill spoke of the victory in a speech “This is not the end. It is not the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Genesis means origins or beginnings. Chapter 50 marks the end of the beginning. It’s an ending that helps make the rest make sense! Genesis 1 starts with God’s power in creation, bring order out of chaos. Chapter 50 shows God bringing order out of the chaos of the seriously generationally dysfunctional family which were the people of God! As one writer put it: Genesis begins with the LORD looking at all he has created and saying “It is good”; it ends with Joseph telling his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.”
In Genesis 12 God called Abraham to be the forefather of the Old Covenant people of God. Through that family God will bless all the families of the earth. As the story has unfolded God has been faithful in His promises, while sin has been at work in frail humanity. Each generation passes down toxic patterns of favouritism and deceit, which jeopardise the unity of the family and the fulfilment of the promises. By the time of Joseph, the family is a mess! Jealousy and lies have torn the family apart, which ends up with Joseph in Egypt while the rest of the family’s survival is threatened by famine.
God does not forget His promises or not work to fulfil them. Providentially (behind the scenes) He is working in the midst of sin, stupidity and terrible circumstances to work for the good of the family of God. He makes a way for the family to be reconciled, reunited and rescued. Joseph will be at peace with his brothers and God’s family will work out.
Today, we see that Joseph lives and dies trusting in God’s promises. He understands everything, the past, present, and future – in the light of the promises and providence of God. He had every reason to be bitter, and to not forgive. He had been very nearly murdered by his brothers, was sold into slavery in a foreign land, then falsely accused of adultery, and spent several years in prison. He was abused by people he should have been able to trust. He had lost so much: his family, his home, his reputation, his freedom. He had spent the prime of his life as a slave and a prisoner. BUT somehow the Lord has revealed to him the bigger picture. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (v. 20)
While it is unfolding, God’s purposes and plans can often be hard to recognise. But know this. God is always at work. He will fulfil His promises and His word. He will carry on to completion the work he has begun in you (Phil 1:6). Joseph has forgiven them and wishes no ill or revenge on them. In their brokenness as Jacob dies, the brothers are fearful that Joseph will get revenge then. But no – forgiveness is forgiveness and God is working good in all.
So Genesis 50 marks the end of the beginning. God has made a good universe, people have messed it up, but He is at work taking a pretty weird and dysfunctional family and beginning to fashion them in to the people of God.
Today trust God that He will work all things for your good. He will use you in-spite of your weakness, failure and half-heartedness. Where there is relational issues, forgive and allow to God to work in and around you.