– Jerry Bridges
Good From Evil
If Joseph had not been thrown into a pit to die, his brothers wouldn’t have sold him to slave traders. If Joseph hadn’t been sold to slave traders, he wouldn’t have been sold to Potiphar’s household. If He hadn’t been sold to Potiphar’s household, he wouldn’t have been unfairly accused and thrown into prison. If Joseph hadn’t been unfairly accused and thrown into prison, he wouldn’t have interpreted the two prisoners’ dreams. If Joseph hadn’t interpreted the two men’s dreams, he wouldn’t have had a chance to interpret Pharaoh’s dream; and if he hadn’t interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, he wouldn’t have been put second in command over all of Egypt. And if not for that, the great seven-year famine that came would have caused millions to die. When Joseph finally saw his brothers, he said, “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 50:20). Joseph didn’t deny that what they did was evil; he only showed that God can even use evil for good. Joseph was not a victim of circumstances; He was in God’s will and planned purposes. Just look at the cross.
We can trust a God Who knows the future and calls what is not yet as though it already exists (Romans 4:17) because He has the power to bring it about (Revelation 22). So Paul could say with confidence that “we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). It doesn’t say all things are good but that all things, good and bad, work out according to God’s purpose. Besides, anything that comes our way in life cannot even be compared to the glory that’s coming (Romans 8:18)!
Circumstances might control us more than we control them, but God is sovereign over all circumstances. If a sparrow falls to the ground, He knows it (Matthew 10:29). Try to think about what could ever possibly separate you from God’s love. Is it heights; depths; powers; the past, present, or future? Or is it even death? The Bible says that none of these things “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39b).
I put the heading in this paragraph in all caps because it is an acronym for Being Under Satan’s Yoke. If we get so busy that we can’t do much of anything good, we’re too busy. I have learned the hard way to say “no.” If we do one or two things we’re good at, we’ll benefit the kingdom; but if we do too many things, we’ll naturally do them not so good. Better to be good at one thing than average or below average at many. God can control circumstances, but you control choice.
Jerry Bridges brings up a very good point in that no circumstance is too hard for God to handle. We must believe that even good can come from evil, that everything that happens works out for our very best, that nothing or nobody can ever separate us from God, and that Satan can get us so busy that we begin to neglect God, our family, our friends, our pets, our church, the yard, the house, the car, and just about anything else you can imagine. Just remember what Mr. Bridges said: “No circumstance is so big that He cannot control it.”