After years of injustice being inflicted upon him, Joseph was finally in a position to render revenge in a calculated act of violent retribution. He had endured slavery, false accusations, wrongful imprisonment, and the abandonment of his family. And now it had come full circle; he was sitting on the throne of Egypt - and his wicked brothers were at his mercy.
Fearing for their lives, they trembled before him. But Joseph simply said, "Am I in the place of God?"
In other words, their terrible sin had offended a Holy God. They had violently assaulted the Covenant, and had shed innocent blood in the dismantling of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. And yet, in Joseph's heart, it was against God (and God only) that they had sinned. It was as if to say, "Make your peace with God, and then you will find our reconciliation to be an easy matter."
The forgiveness extended by Joseph to his brothers was directly related to his theology of God's Sovereignty. He follows the question of judgment by saying, "For what was meant for evil, God meant for good." In the rear-view mirror, Joseph insisted that God was playing the base guitar in a cosmic symphony, with every note intricately woven into the fabric of their redemption!
What you meant for a tragedy, God meant as a comedy. What you meant for destruction, God meant for deliverance. What you meant as the end, God meant as a new chapter...
When I look back over the course of my spiritual journey, I see the fingerprints of God's Sovereignty of every page. From the sting of betrayal grow the roots of loyalty. The basement of despair is the birthplace of humility. And in the release of resentment fuels the freedom of forgiveness.
God has been good to me. From the excess of man's lethal praise, to the abandonment of close friends. God has been my One Constant. From the letters from local pastors to a carnal judge... God knows I am guilty, and in my confession - He covers my shame. In the basement of the Muskegon County Jail, my bunkmate was a man named "Immanuel".