God Meant it for Good (Genesis 50:19–20) - Radical

God Meant it for Good (Genesis 50:19–20)

“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.'”
– Genesis 50:19–20

These two verses are one of the greatest punchlines, climatic points, I don’t even know how to describe it, in all the bible. I mean this story of Joseph, and Judah started in Genesis 37. It goes on all the way to Genesis 50:19–20, but it really sums up the whole book of Genesis. We have seen so much evil and sin in the book of Genesis, in so many different ways.

In Abraham, in Issac, in Jacob and Esau. Go back before them to Cain and Abel and Noah, and certainly in this Joseph story and his brothers. We’ve seen so much sin and evil, and yet this verse, in the Genesis 50, reminds us that though there is evil in the world, not the way God designed the world to be. That’s what we saw in Genesis 1–2.

Genesis 50:19–20 Reminds Us of the Destruction of Sin

Evil enters the picture in Genesis 3, sin in the world. It pervades humanity. It shows its ugly head over and over and over again, but in the middle of it all, there is a God who’s working for good. Oh, this is hope for our lives today, in the middle of a world of evil and sin and suffering and death, all the effects of evil around us, all the effects of sin around us, in our lives, in our families, in our neighborhoods and our churches, in the culture around us, in cultures around the world, over and above it all, there is a God who is working for good.

There’s a God who’s working for good right now in your life and my life and our families and in our churches and in the nations. He’s working for good, specifically. What does Genesis 50:19–20 say? He’s bringing about that many people should be kept alive, that their lives might be saved. That’s what God’s doing right now. He’s bringing salvation to people, in the midst of a sinful, evil world, God is saving people from their sins. He’s restoring people to himself, for we can can have eternal life with him. That’s what’s going on in the world right now.

This Verse Leads Us to Trust in God

So we pray, God we trust in you. We trust that right now, you are working for good, in a world with evil and suffering and sin around us. You’re working for good. You are bringing about salvation and so God we offer our lives to you. God, use us to bring your salvation to others. God, in a world of sin and evil and suffering, help us to proclaim the gospel today. Help every one of us who’s listening to this. God, give us attentiveness to opportunities we have to share the gospel today. Use us to lead people to your salvation today, to experience your goodness in this world of evil and suffering, to have their lives saved from sin.

God may it be so in our family members and our friends. May it be so among more and more people around us and peoples around the world. God, may your salvation spread today, we pray. Through us, through persecuted brothers and sisters around the world, through missionaries around the world, through your church around the world. God show your salvation, we pray. In the midst of evil, work for good, the saving of many lives. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.


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