January 21 | Daily Devotion

If you plan to read every verse of Scripture this year, use the  Lectio Continua (continuous reading) passages. The Lectio Semi-continua (shorter reading) is an abbreviated selection of verses from the day’s passages. Lectio Divina (divine reading) is Pastor Lionel Young’s commentary on the daily readings. See the Resources page on the Lectio Divina website for additional study helps.

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina (meditation on the text)

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good
to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” ~Genesis 50:20

The “Book of Beginnings” closes with a beautiful declaration of God’s sovereign reign over all things. Joseph assures his brothers that the evil they intended for him accomplished good through God’s hands (Gen. 50:19-20). Joseph doesn’t minimize or excuse his brother’s horrific sin, but he does recognize that God takes up the bad things that happen to His people and weaves them into His plan. In fact, the Hebrew words translated intended in both lines of Genesis 50:20 are identical. What man intends for evil, God intends (and uses) for His own purposes. For good. What an amazing God we worship. This faith in God’s providence frees Joseph from the need to get even and prompts his kindness to the very persons who wronged him (Gen. 50:21).

Joseph wasn’t just in a key position in Egyptian society; he was in an amazing place spiritually and mentally as well. His mindset is one we would do well to emulate, trusting in an awesome God, who has good intentions (and plans) for even the wrongs that have been committed against us. From that place of faith, we can give up the quest for revenge and experience such freedom that we show kindness to others regardless of what they have said or done to hurt us.

If you think about it, Joseph’s example prefigures that of Jesus Christ, who calls us to follow in His footsteps (see 1 Peter 2:20-23). Christ suffered for doing good, but He did so without malice or bitterness. He “entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). If mistrust or bitterness has taken root in your heart, meditate on Joseph’s story and the example of Jesus on the cross. Ask God to change your heart so that you can be different from the inside out. Also, talk to a Christian friend or mentor who can help you apply these great truths to your life. If you accept the freedom of a life surrendered to God’s sovereignty, as Joseph and Jesus did, you are in for some great blessing!

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.