January 13, 2016 • Life for Leaders
When some Midianite traders passed by, they drew Joseph up, lifting him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt.”
“And they took Joseph to Egypt.” If you know the story of Joseph, then you know how this little sentence is filled with significance. Moreover, if you’re familiar with the wider story of Israel, then you know that this sentence is the beginning of the most formative story in the Old Testament — the “Exodus” of God’s people from Egypt. It all began when Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelites.
Yet, if you were not familiar with either the story of Joseph or the story of Israel, then you would not realize the significance of “And they took Joseph to Egypt.” This might seem like a relatively trivial bit of detail in Genesis 37. Moreover, if you were Joseph, you would not have had the faintest idea of how your forced journey to Egypt would end up making such a difference in your life, not to mention the life of your family and your people.
God takes the seemingly insignificant parts of our lives and weaves them together beautifully. Moreover, the interlacing of our individual lives is actually part of God’s magnificent, majestic tapestry, in which God ultimately brings together every strand of history in Christ (see Ephesians 1:10). Yet, we are almost always unaware of the significance of God’s weavings in our lives at the time in which they first appear.
Often, the weavings that end up with wonderful significance in our lives seem at first to be negative. I’m pretty sure Joseph did not experience his journey to Egypt as the beginning of an awesome, God-filled adventure. Yet God has a way of taking even what is evil and working it for good. We’ll see this truth later in Genesis (50:20). It is writ large in a sentence from Paul’s letter to the Romans: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom 8:28, NIV).
As I reflect on God’s mysterious weavings, I’m not inclined to try and figure out the significance of every little event in my life. Rather, I’m encouraged to trust God, to know that God is ultimately in control, that God is weaving a masterful tapestry that includes my life. What a wonder!
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Can you think of events in your life that appeared to be inconsequential but turned out to be very significant?
Can you see evidence of God’s mysterious weavings in your life?
Will you be able to trust God today with every part of your life?
Gracious God, thank you for being a master weaver, one who takes the threads of our lives and turns them into a stunning tapestry. Thank you for using even the bad things that happen to us for ultimate good.
As I live my life today, may I trust you with everything. May I live without worry or fear. May I offer all that I am to you with faith and freedom. Amen.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.