October 31, 2020


Hebrews 11:21; Genesis 50:15-21

“But God intended it for good. . . .”

—  Genesis 50:20

Many tombstones include an epitaph, a statement about a person’s life or character. We don’t know if there was an epitaph on Jacob’s tomb, but Hebrews 11:21 remembers him as one who lived “by faith.”

After Jacob’s death, his elder sons were afraid that Joseph would seek revenge for mistreating him (see Genesis 37:12-36). After all, payback would be understandable. But Joseph told them, “God intended it for good. . . .”

When we live by faith, we see that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Joseph understood that God can redeem even the worst of circumstances for good, to show us his salvation. In Egypt, Joseph had suffered difficult times as a person sold into slavery, but he also learned that God was with him. And God amazingly raised him up to be a ruler in Egypt at a time when people from many nations would need food because of a great famine. So he told his brothers: “God intended it for good . . . the saving of many lives”—­including their own.

The lives of Jacob and his descendants show that God can redeem even difficult people. And this means God can redeem us too. We can know the grace and forgiveness that come from Christ’s work of salvation. Have you experienced God’s grace? Let Jesus move your heart today from self-­interest to faith in God, who uses all things for good.

Lord and God, you changed Jacob into a hero of faith. Change me also, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

About the author — Joel Vande Werken

Joel Vande Werken has been a pastor since 2007, serving churches in Sussex, New Jersey, and in Whitinsville, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Brandie, have five young children.

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