March 31, 2017
On the commemoration of Joseph, we read a devotion taken from The Great Works of God Parts Three and Four: The Mysteries of Christ in the Book of Genesis, Chapters 16–50.
God used Joseph’s kidnapping and suffering for the glory of Himself and the good of Egypt. As a type of Christ, Joseph’s life points us to the ultimate suffering servant, Jesus Christ. In Him, we are redeemed from the curse of sin and death and given the gift of life eternal.
Joseph said, “You meant evil against me, but God meant to turn it to good.” Only God has such skill. We are certainly able to turn good to evil; in that we are masters. But to turn evil to good takes divine wisdom and omnipotence, and God uses this skill for the honor of all who, like Joseph, trust and cling to Him with their whole heart. Wherefore Augustine says, “The Lord God permits no evil to befall from which He cannot or will not elicit some good.” And St. Paul: “For those who love God, all things must work together for good” (Rom. 8:28).
Here again contemplate Your kind Savior Jesus Christ. God is found here in several places. Moses mentions Elohim, that is, the blessed Three in One, the Holy Trinity, in whose midst the Lord Jesus is present here. . . .
Just as Joseph was an image of our Lord Jesus above, so now in the peaceable heart of Joseph we see a portrait of the kind, sweet heart of our Lord Jesus. Of this the prophet Isaiah prophesies, “He will not be sullen or cruel” (Is. 42:4). Oh Lord Jesus, You have a gentle, mild heart toward all Your repentant brothers when they come to You and confess. You cannot be angry with them forever no matter how often and rudely they have sinned against You. Just as Joseph consoled and spoke kindly to his brothers, so You call to us, Your sinful brothers, “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened; I will refresh you. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:28[–29]). Thank You, dear heavenly Joseph, for this consolation. Forgive, I pray You now, my transgression and sin, for I have done evil to You and angered You. Now I pray You, forgive the trespass of Your brother, which I am. Tell my soul, “Fear not . . . I am your God,” as You told the prophet Isaiah (Is. 41:10). Console and absolve me. Speak kindly to my heart and provide for me with Your brotherly faithfulness, that I may praise Your gentleness and humility.
Joseph said to his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant to turn it to good.” So it was in Your suffering, Lord Jesus. Your brothers the Jews meant evil against You, wishing to get rid of You and blot You out; but God the heavenly Father meant to turn it to good, for in this way His wrath was to be quenched, hell harrowed, sin blotted out, the devil defeated, heaven opened, and salvation won for us. Praised be the wonderful wisdom of God forever!
Oh my dear heavenly Father, when the world means evil against me, renew unto me, a poor sinner, Your wonders of old, and turn all evil to good, that the glory of Your holy name may be increased. Amen.
Devotional reading and prayer are from The Great Works of God Parts Three and Four: The Mysteries of Christ in the Book of Genesis, Chapters 16–50, pages 506–507. English translation © 2011 Matthew Carver. Published by Concordia Publishing House.
Compiled by Anna Johnson
Deaconess Anna Johnson is the Marketing Manager for Church Supplies at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in Education and Human Development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other non-profit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.