When he first revealed himself to his brothers, Joseph said three times that it was most ultimately God who had sent him on to Egypt, not his brothers (v. 5, 7, 8). Now Joseph returns to this truth and articulates explicitly what has been implicit all through the Joseph narrative and indeed all through Genesis: all things, including the evil actions of godless men, are under the wise, governing hand of a gracious God who intends final good for his people (50:20).
The historical climax of this profound truth is the cross of Christ—here, if anywhere, is an act of evil: the crucifixion of the one person who ever lived a life undeserving of punishment of any kind. Yet even this, the book of Acts tells us, was under God’s good hand. Jesus was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23; cf. 4:27-28). This does not exonerate the wicked actions that carry out such evil, but it does give us the broadest vision for what is happening at any given point of history, even when evil seems to triumph most horrifically. God is there. He is with his people. He is working out his redemptive purposes.
This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible.